When one considers the histories of Donald Trump and his new Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, the two real estate moguls are a match made in hell. Both of them grew up in luxury, inherited their fortunes, and never developed a sense of empathy for other people; and both of them made their business careers off the pain and suffering of the American worker.
After college, Mnuchin was handed a cushy job at Goldman Sachs by his father, who was a general partner at the notorious finance institution, before leaving in 2002 to become the CEO of Dune Capital hedge fund.
After the recession hit, Mnuchin and his group of his oligarch buddies got together and bought the failing company IndyMac for pennies on the dollar from the government, paying just $1.5 billion for a company with $16 billion in assets. IndyMac was a lending company that “specialized in high-risk variable-rate mortgages and loans that didn’t require much documentation, including the income and credit history of borrowers.” They renamed it OneWest and set out to make some money.
Investigation by the Nation reveals how Mnuchin set up a scheme to receive billions in taxpayer money for foreclosing on over 35,000 homes:
“The FDIC was so desperate to unload IndyMac that Mnuchin and his colleagues were able to obtain, as part of the purchase deal, a so-called “shared loss” agreement from the FDIC which reimbursed these billionaires for much of their costs for foreclosing on people unlucky enough to have mortgages from IndyMac.”
Mnuchin and his buddies made $1.5 billion from the government in a year while ruthlessly foreclosing on their customers in appalling ways:
When it came to their customers, they displayed little mercy or compassion. In 2009, according to the New York Post, a judge called OneWest’s behavior “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” when it tried to foreclose on a New York family. The judge branded the bank’s conduct as “inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious.”
Also in 2009, OneWest had the locks changed on the home of a Minneapolis woman in the middle of a blizzard, even after the company sent her a letter stating “You expressed concern that at the end of the redemption period … you and your mother will be evicted from the property…Rest assured, that will not take place due to the rescission of the foreclosure sale.”
OneWest was also notorious for foreclosing heavily in communities of color and foreclosing on seniors. All in all, Mnuchin and his buddies foreclosed on 35,877 homes, sending their occupants into poverty and homelessness while he made billions in profits.
This is the kind of man that Donald Trump wants in his cabinet. Trump pretended to be a hero for the working class, but he is going out of his way to staff his cabinet with billionaires and insiders that made their fortunes off the pain and suffering of the American people.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.