2018-08-07 15:35:38 UTC
President Trumps commerce secretary may have bilked business associates out of
more than $120 million and could rank among the biggest grifters in American
history, according to a report released Tuesday.
An investigation which included interviews with 21 people who have worked
closely with Wilbur Ross in the past alleges that that the 80-year-old stole
a few million here and a few million there throughout his career as an
investment banker, Forbes reports.
The magazine previously reported that Ross fudged his finances in order to
appear on the publications elite list of billionaires.
Disclosure forms Ross filed after his nomination by Trump showed he actually had
less than $700 million in assets. Forbes removed him from their list last year.
Hes a pathological liar, a former colleague told the magazine.
Just two weeks ago, Ross quietly settled a $4 million lawsuit brought by a
former employee who alleged Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund
and then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork.
Similar charges have been leveled against Trumps economic sidekick in the past.
A former vice chairman of Ross's private equity fund, WL Ross & Company, sued
the New Jersey native for $20 million in 2005, alleged that he was cut out of
Another lawsuit alleges that Ross and his firm charged at least $48 million in
improper fees on investments.
Others paint a not-so-rosy picture of Ross private life, telling the magazine
he is a cheapskate who is obsessed with money.
A pair of former colleagues noted that contractors would call Ross office
saying they had not been paid for jobs at his home and that he took handfuls of
Sweet N Low packets from a restaurant near his office, so he wouldnt have to
buy some for himself.
A commerce department official called the allegations petty nonsense and said
Ross does not use sweetener in his coffee.
Ross himself maintained his innocence by telling Forbes hes never been caught
stealing and the SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me.
However, SEC fined his firm $2.3 million in 2016. Ross also argued that one
lawsuit filed against him had been dismissed, but he didnt bother to say that
it's being appealed.