Day by Day

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Joe Biden: Dirty as a Skunk

Actually, skunks may be clean animals. Dunno.

Can't excerpt it all, the gist is this, I think:

Joe Biden likes to say he is the embodiment of the American dream -- a middle-class kid who became one of the U.S. Senate's most-respected members and, now, the Democratic nominee for vice president.

Though he's considered one of the least wealthy senators -- his net worth dwarfed by several multimillionaire attorneys and entrepreneurs -- Biden is a wealthy man by ordinary standards -- worth about $2 million but perhaps hundreds of thousand dollars more, a News Journal analysis found.
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While their earnings probably would not be enough to purchase their Greenville estate today, the Bidens have managed to live in such splendor partly because of two financially rewarding real estate deals with political supporters.

In 1996, Biden sold a home in Greenville for the asking price of $1.2 million -- more than six times what he paid two decades earlier -- to John R. Cochran III, a top executive at the MBNA credit card bank that was a longtime political benefactor.

Using profits from that sale, Biden paid $350,000 cash to real estate executive and developer Keith D. Stoltz for 4.2 vacant acres -- a long, narrow lot a few miles from Biden's old home. Stoltz had bought that same lot five years earlier for the same price.

Stephen Pyle, who sold the land to Stoltz in 1991, said he was surprised that Stoltz, who lived on a neighboring estate, did not make any profit selling to Biden. "That doesn't sound like Keith Stoltz," Pyle, an artist who now lives in Texas, said of Stoltz, whose company recently proposed a $525 million project at nearby Barley Mill Plaza, a former DuPont Co. office campus.
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Sen. Biden married Jill in 1977 and the couple raised three children in the home. In 1996, they put it on the market for $1.2 million -- and that's exactly what Cochran, MBNA's chief marketing officer, paid for it.

That fall, the home sale became controversial when a pollster for Biden's re-election opponent, Republican Raymond Clatworthy, suggested during a telephone survey that Cochran paid more than twice what the house was worth.
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That didn't end the controversy, however. The American Spectator, a conservative magazine, published an article in 1998 that branded Biden as "The Senator from MBNA." The story was written long before Biden supported federal bankruptcy reform legislation, an effort that MBNA pursued aggressively.

The piece noted that MBNA employees had given $62,850 to Biden for his 1996 re-election -- by far the most from any company -- and that Cochran himself had given the maximum $2,000.

MBNA also reimbursed Cochran $330,115 for his move to Delaware from Maryland, including $210,000 for a loss on his old home, the magazine wrote, citing an MBNA Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Shortly after Biden defeated Clatworthy, the magazine reported, MBNA hired Biden's son Hunter, a Yale Law School graduate, to a management trainee post. Hunter Biden later left the bank and became a lobbyist.
Probably no more smarmy than a lot of what happens in DC. But a working class hero?

Ummm, no.

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008809060343

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