Romney still has at least $2 million invested in Golden Gate, according to his financial disclosure of 2011 (and his wife Ann has at least $250,000), and Golden Gate has sold off its Endurance Specialty holdings — presumably meaning that Romney made money from his investment in the tax-sheltered company.
There was plenty of press back in late 2001 about Golden Gate's involvement with Endurance Specialty — not just in investors' trade publications but mainstream media including the Boston Globe. Certainly Romney could have withdrawn his own investment, if not Bain Capital's — so it behooves him to argue that he was too busy in Salt Lake City to have paid attention to his investments.
GOING FOR THE GOLD Would Romney’s Olympics gambit have succeeded without giving sweet deals to friends in high places?
There is one more reason that Romney may want to play down his investment persona during the Shadow Years: it may reveal that his much-touted Olympic turnaround was not quite the heroic effort he claims.
Saving the Salt Lake Olympic Games after the bribery scandal is a crucial piece of Romney's biography — and he was well aware of the political value at the time. The Boston Globe reported that, when pleading for John Hancock to return as a major Olympic sponsor, Romney told his longtime friend and Hancock CEO David D'Alessandro that if the Olympics were not a success, "I won't be anything anymore in public life."
Running the Olympics involved many things, but the most important was selling sponsorships — a task that Romney describes at length in Turnaround, his 2004 book about the Olympics experience.
But Romney has never revealed what deals he made to get those $300 million worth of sponsorships (in cash, products, and services) — he exempted those agreements from his pledge of total transparency for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), and they have never been made public. That's a mighty selective, and potentially self-serving, definition of transparency.
So we don't know whether Romney used any of his leverage at Bain to help him get those career-saving sponsorships.
There are at least a couple of curious coincidences.
One is Gateway, which ended up as the provider of 4000 free computers.
As Romney describes in Turnaround, every computer maker had turned down the crucial sponsorship, including Gateway. "We were about 30 days out from our September 30, 1999, drop-dead date," Romney wrote. "If we didn't have a computer sponsor by then, we would have to start buying them at retail."
Gateway came on board only after what Romney describes as a highly unusual mano a mano meeting with the company's CEO.
What we do know is that in 2001, according to SEC documents, Gateway made a deal for services from Bain Consulting — payment for which came in the form of options to buy $5 million of Gateway common stock at a price above what it was trading for at the time.
Jon Huntsman Sr. (father of the presidential candidate) was another who had a change of heart, and later found doors open at Bain.