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Why is Wheeler Failing to Disclose His Ten Years as a Banker And Investor?

Monday, February 22, 2016

 

Over the course of Ted Wheeler's public career, his public bios often fail to disclose his time working for two of the largest banks in America. The level of disclosure of his banking experience by Wheeler all seems to depend on which office he is running for and if bankers are in vogue.  

GoLocalPDX reviewed 20 years of public and campaign documents -- in most instances, there is no disclosure of his finance experience. In the cases where the experience is disclosed, it is only a three to five word description and there is never any reference to the two major banks he worked for or the investment firm he founded in Massachusetts.

Politics of Bankers

Presently, Wheeler’s campaign website for Mayor of Portland features a 440 word bio which makes no reference to his banking or any reference to his investment experience.

In an era of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton all bashing Wall Street, America’s six largest banks, and the influence of big money, it is not the year to be a banker running for office.

For about ten years Wheeler was a banker for Bank of America in San Francisco, ran his own real estate investment firm in Marblehead, MA, and was a Vice President/money manager for wealthy individuals at a private bank which is now a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). 

According to Wheeler’s official curriculum vitae (CV) that GoLocal requested and secured from the Treasurer’s office after more than a half-dozen requests in December of 2015, Wheeler spent a total of ten years in banking, money management and operating his own defunct real estate investment firm.

The CV provided by the Treasurer's office is inconsistent with many of his campaign or elected office bios.

According to Wheeler’s campaign field staff director, Wheeler was never a banker. Brian Eno requested that GoLocal remove a reference to Wheeler as being a “ former banker” that appeared in an article about campaign finance reform. “He was a researcher and about 20 years old (when he worked for Bank of America)," said Eno about Wheeler when requesting that the story be edited.

But, in fact, Wheeler was educated at two of America’s top business schools and then went into nearly a decade career in finance.

Wheeler’s bios and elected office resumes are inconsistent and fail to disclose his range and depth of experience at a number of different business interests.

READ A SAMPLING OF HIS BIOS HERE

Photo: Mike Mozart, FLCKR

Bank of America

After graduating from Stanford with a BA in Economics in 1985, he landed a position at Bank of America’s San Francisco office -- and then went on to one of the top business schools in America, Columbia University in New York City, where he graduated with a MBA in finance. Today, Bank of America is the country’s second largest bank with more than $2 trillion in assets (JP Morgan is the largest in America).

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says, “The six largest financial institutions in this country today hold assets equal to about 60% of the nation’s gross domestic product. These six banks issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and over 35% of all mortgages. They control 95% of all derivatives and hold more than 40% of all bank deposits in the United States.”

According to Wheeler’s own CV he served as a Financial Analyst and a Corporate Planner at Bank of America for a four-year period.

Massachusetts Real Estate Investment Firm

In 1994, Wheeler started a real estate investment firm in Marblehead, MA, one of the most affluent communities on the East Coast. In his filings with the Massachusetts Office of the Secretary of State, the firm – Bay State Capital Fund, Inc. -- was intended to, among other things:

“To acquire, by purchase, lease, investment, or otherwise, lands and interests in lands, and to own, hold, improve, develop, and manage any real estate so acquired, and to erect, or cause to be erected, on any lands owned, held, or occupied by the Corporation, buildings or other structures, with their appurtenances, and to manage, operate, lease, rebuild, enlarge, alter or improve any buildings or other structures, now or hereafter erected on any lands owned, held, or occupied by the Corporation, and to encumber or dispose of any lands or interests in lands, and any buildings or other structures, and any stores, shops, suites, rooms, or part of any buildings or other structures, at any time owned or held by the Corporation...”

Wheeler shuttered the firm five years later according to the “Articles of Voluntary Dissolution” that Wheeler filed with the Commonwealth’s Secretary of State.

The five years Wheeler ran Bay State Capital Fund is the second longest he has held any position during his professional career. Only his tenure as Treasurer has been longer. 

Failure to Disclose and Inconsistencies

GoLocal’s reviewed Wheeler’s campaign bios, professional CVs, and his official office resumes starting as early as his first campaign for County Commissioner in 2006.

While Wheeler’s description of his climbs of Mount Everest have been consistently disclosed, his professional business experience repeatedly changed and his banking experience for Bank of America often was excluded. None of his bios disclosed his five years running Bay State Capital Fund in Massachusetts.

Vice President Wealth Manager

Beyond Wheeler’s four years at Bank of America and his five years owning a real estate investment firm, he also served as a Vice President and Director for Cooper Mountain Trust in Portland for approximately three years. Cooper Mountain had a reported $6 billion under-management when it was acquired Union Bank of California, N.A. (NYSE:UB). Wheeler worked for nearly two years for Union Bank. According to Portland Business Journal's story in 2000 about the acquisition at the time, "The deal is expected to close by the end of the year subject to regulatory approval," said Piet Westerbeek, UBOC executive vice president and division head for institutional services and asset management. Wheeler continued to work at Union Bank until 2002.

Union Bank, headquartered in New York City is owned Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). Today, Mitsubishi is the 8th largest bank and Bank of America is the 9th largest bank in the world respectively.

Wheeler's Response

Ted Wheeler refused to respond to questions about his experience at the two banks and his role at Bay State Capital Fund. After two days of requests, his Campaign Manager issued a statement. 

"To succeed, the next mayor of Portland is going to have both management experience and experience building coalitions. Ted's record of public service, first as Chair of Multnomah County then as State Treasurer shows he has the experience to lead and bring people together to solve our common challenges," said Michael Cox, Wheeler's Campaign Manager in an email Sunday night.

 

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