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Reply #5: Money matters follow Marco Rubio, while he preaches fiscal and personal responsibility [View All]

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-19-10 12:19 PM
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5. Money matters follow Marco Rubio, while he preaches fiscal and personal responsibility
Money matters follow Rubio

By Zac Anderson
Herald Tribune

September 19, 2010

Marco Rubio took the stage in front of 2,000 cheering supporters in Sarasota earlier this month and delivered a stark warning: Government debt is destroying America.
"Government cannot continue to spend more money than it takes in!" exhorted the Republican U.S. Senate candidate.


For 16 months, Rubio has carried this message of fiscal responsibility to great applause across Florida.

What Rubio does not tell the crowds is that he has gone deep into debt and struggled to make his payments, with Deutsche Bank initiating foreclosure proceedings on one of his homes in June.

Rubio resolved the foreclosure case, but debt has been a constant companion. In 2005, he carried more than $1 million in debt with mortgages on three homes, a home equity line of credit, a car loan and more than $150,000 in student loans.

As he tried to meet his obligations, Rubio engaged in a series of financial transactions that led to accusations that he received special treatment because of his political connections, abused campaign cash and engaged in deals where a conflict of interest existed between his political position and financial benefit.

Such deals seem to contradict the principles Rubio espouses on the campaign trail: calling for balanced budgets as he strained his own, and criticizing government waste as he arranged unadvertised government jobs for himself.

They include:

Arranging the $135,000 home credit line in 2006 from a bank controlled by political supporters who valued his home at 25 percent above the purchase price a month after the sale closed.

Selling another home for a large profit in 2007 at a time when the market was on the way down. The sale was made to the mother of a politically influential chiropractor who was lobbying Rubio over a lucrative state insurance issue.

Securing no-bid employment contracts in 2008 at a public hospital and state university in Miami at a time when both agencies were cutting employees and slashing millions from their budgets

Using his Republican Party credit card to cover expenses such as car repairs, purchases at Apple's online store and movie tickets that appear to be personal in nature.


Which brings us to the ever-growing number of current questions that Rubio is running away from during his campaign for US Senate.

This guy has a seemingly insatiable need for cash.

By the end of 2005, Rubio had three home mortgages, a home equity line of credit, a car loan and more than $150,000 in student loans -- a total debt load of $1,025,444.58, according to the financial disclosure statement he filed with the state.

That same year, the Republican Party of Florida gave Rubio a credit card to use at his discretion. ((February, 2005, to be exact.))

In 2007 and 2008, Rubio charged nearly $100,000 on his Republican Party credit card, according to records released by the party.

The party has refused to release records from before 2007.


(emphases added)

This smells like a cover-up for Rubio by his friend John Thrasher, head of the RPOF. Thrasher's cherry-picked audit carefully avoids looking at Rubio's Party credit card charges from 2005 and 2006, but makes the as-yet baseless charges against Crist for 'unauthorized lavish personal spending, using GOP funds'. Funny, that the fact that Crist did not possess a Party credit card doesn't cross Thrasher's lips. It wouldn't fit Thrasher's accusatory narrative against Crist.

"Marco Rubio spent money like a drunken sailor," said state Senator Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, a supporter of Rubio's Senate rival, Gov. Charlie Crist. "This is a person who has gotten in way over his head with his personal finances but he's running for the United States Senate and talks about being personally responsible and fiscally responsible. It's ludicrous."


"Instead of going out and earning a living like every other Floridian, he's living off campaign contributions," Fasano said.

What is clear is that Rubio never seemed to have enough cash.


The Herald Tribune investigative article goes on to describe several incidents in detail, where the conclusion that Rubio used his leadership position as a tool to enrich himself and his family at taxpayers' expense, is inescapable.

In December 2005, Rubio closed on a new home for $550,000.

By January 2006 the house had been appraised at $735,000 and he landed a $135,000 home equity line of credit from a bank controlled by his political supporters, according to Miami-Dade County records.

The home is now assessed at $392,000 for tax purposes.


Another questionable deal arose in May 2007, when Rubio sold his first home -- the one he purchased in 2003 for $175,000 and had been renting -- to Nora Cereceda.

At the time of the sale, Cereceda's son -- chiropractor Mark Cereceda, who runs a chain of clinics -- was aggressively lobbying Rubio over a state insurance issue.

Nora Cereceda paid $380,000 cash for the house, a $205,000 profit for Rubio at a time when the market had begun to drop.


Shortly after Dr. Cereceda's mother purchased the home, Rubio removed the House's block on the insurance provision and voted for it himself.


Questions about whether Rubio's political position helped him financially came up again in 2008, when a term-limited Rubio was leaving the Legislature and planning his next move.

Florida International University announced Rubio had been hired to teach political science classes and do research part time for $69,000 a year. The job was never publicly advertised.

That year, the university cut 23 degree programs and 200 jobs. Another 200 jobs were cut the next year.

Thomas Breslin, chairman of the faculty Senate at Florida International University, said some faculty members complained about Rubio's being hired at a time of deep budget cuts.

"The Rubio hiring for many was salt in the wound," Breslin said last week, recalling the Senate's discussions at the time.

Rubio had been a good friend to the university. He helped secure $15 million for a hurricane center, $11 million for a medical school, $2.5 million for a student academic support center and millions more in other budget requests for FIU while he was speaker of the House.


After joining the FIU faculty, Rubio subsequently paid his boss, Dario Moreno, the professor who helped get him hired, $12,000 to conduct polling for his U.S. Senate campaign. Moreno stopped working for Rubio when the payment was reported in the media.

Around the same time, Rubio landed a $8,000-a-month consulting contract with Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami's large public hospital, just months after he helped secure an extra $20 million state budget allocation for the hospital during his speakership.


And, when presented with the facts about this candidate's prior history as part of a self-serving, hypocritical, mean-spirited Party of Graft, the most important question for Floridians remains, as we elect a new US Senator:

'What will we say to Marco Rubio on November 2, 2010?'
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