This story is part of a package on Mitt Romney's Bain holdings. For the full report, go here.
Romney owns a stake in Sankaty High Yield Partners II LP, a Delaware debt fund specializing in "below investment grade assets"—it entered into default in 2008 after missing a scheduled payment to its partners and was in the process of liquidating in 2009. According to its 2009 financial statements, among its assets was a $3.8 million loan, due in 2013, to American Media Operations, Inc. That happens to be a subsidiary of American Media, Inc., which is the parent company of the National Enquirer, the salacious and ethically frisky newspaper that regularly traffics in the sort of debased gossip that most good Mormons—or just Republicans—would blanch at. By 2009, American Media had paid down the principal to $1.8 million. (Unfortunately for Romney, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Presumably the debt was never repaid in full.
Sankaty High Yield Partners II also lent money to such un-Mormon concerns as Las Vegas Sands, LLC ($3 million), which operates casinos in Las Vegas and China; Motor City Casinos ($1.8 million), and Yonkers Racing Corporation ($214,000). Not to mention Core-Mark, a nationwide cigarette distributor ($13 million in bonds). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, for which Romney has served as a bishop and "stake president," opposes gambling and smoking. Mother Jones' David Corn has detailed another Romney holding—Brookside Capital Investors Inc.—that also held substantial gambling-related investments, despite Romney's record of opposing "access to gaming" due to its "social costs."
In the entertainment world, Sankaty High Yield Partners II loaned $1.9 million to Harlem Globetrotters, International, which ought to earn Romney a little street cred with the Obama team, right? It also owns pieces of the Firm, Inc., the Hollywood talent management company that has worked to advance the careers of such paragons of GOP propriety as Limp Bizkit and Britney Spears, and Warner Music Group, which has of course brought you acts like the Pimp Squad Click, Big Kuntry King, and Mac Boney. Who let the dogs out!
Other odd or interesting targets of Romney's investment acumen include the American Institute of Gastric Banding, the Canadian dollar store chain Dollarama, CRC Health—a chain of rehabs for troubled kids that has been accused of abuse and negligence—Manchester United, and the reality TV producer Endemol. And let's not forget the good people at Bavaria Yachts.
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Image by Jim Cooke