Mo' Money Mo' Problems

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THE SPINE MARCH 7, 2007

Mo' Money Mo' Problems

Deval Patrick has made many mistakes in his bare two months as
governor. None of them particularly serious, although two or three reflect
a strange strain for luxury in his character. OK,
he wants his own privately paid-for summer vacation McMansion, let him go
right ahead.

But an article by Frank Phillips in Tuesday's Globe revealed that the
governor had made a phone call to Robert E. Rubin, former secretary of the
treasury and now a top official at Citigroup, to smooth the paths for a
corporate loan. So who was the lender? ACC Capital Holdings, the
owner of Ameriquest. This firm is well-known for predatory lending, and it
was an issue in the campaign because Patrick had been on the board of
ACC. Very sloppy. Very dirty. And oh-so-stupid.

Stupider still was Patrick after he has apologized. He said he did not
call Rubin as the governor of Massachusetts but simply as a private person
vouching for the company. And, of course, Rubin pushed from his mind the
fact that Patrick was, indeed, governor.

Patrick was paid $360,000 a year during the two years he served as an ACC
director. And now ACC has gotten its money's worth. Citigroup has put a
large cash infusion into the troubled company. By the way, Citigroup also
does much bond business with the state. Did that ever occur to Patrick
when he called Rubin?

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