July 12 -- Mitt Romney remained the sole stockholder of Bain Capital LLC even after leaving in 1999 to run the Winter Olympics, the private-equity fund said after questions were raised about when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee departed the firm.
Bain, based in Boston, said in a statement today that it took a while to transfer ownership to Romney’s successors “due to the sudden nature” of his decision to run the Olympics in Salt Lake City. Until the ownership situation was resolved, Romney continued to be listed as the sole stockholder and in various executive positions in Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the company said.
“Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in February 1999 to run the Olympics and has had absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies since the day of his departure,” the company said.
The statement followed a Boston Globe report that he was listed as chief executive officer, among other positions, in SEC filings after he left to take over the Salt Lake City Olympic committee. The paper said documents filed with the commission through 2002 listed Romney as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president.”
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has zeroed in on Romney’s business background in ads, linking him to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs. Romney has said voters are tired of politicians’ “petty” attacks.
The timing of Romney’s departure has become an issue because his campaign responded to reports of Bain-owned companies laying off employees by saying the former Massachusetts governor wasn’t responsible for actions after he left.
Obama led Romney, 50 percent to 43 percent, in a poll released today by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The survey also gave Obama a 48 percent to 42 percent lead on who would do a better job of improving economic conditions and a 46 percent to 42 percent edge on improving the job situation. The June 28-July 9 survey of 2,373 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percent.
Romney’s tenure at Bain, the company he helped found, became the subject of attacks during the primary campaign earlier this year by two of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, as well as by Democrats.
Romney “consistently claimed he could not be blamed for bankruptcies and layoffs from Bain investments after February 1999 because he departed for the Olympics,” said Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, in a statement today. “Now we know that he wasn’t telling the truth.”
A Romney campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said Romney “had no input on investments or management of companies” after leaving Bain in February 1999.
Romney’s personal financial report filed in June carried the notation that “since Feb. 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.”
Romney is worth as much as $250 million, according to financial documents his campaign has released.