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PA-Gov: Wolf Hit On Business History


Following a Philadelphia Inquirer story from last week, the PA GOP called on the former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf to return funds that his business lost during the recession.

The Wolf Organization, the state’s largest distributor of cabinets, lost about half of its value during the recession. It also took on debt to buy out Tom Wolf and his two cousins when they decided to retire. Their buyout cost the Wolf Organization approximately $60 million. Tom Wolf put the amount he took from his retirement and put it in a blind trust when he joined the Governor Ed Rendell Administration as Revenue Secretary.

Weston Presidio Fund V bought a $32 million interest in the business, some of which came from an investment from Pennsylvania’s State Employees Retirement System.  SERS made a $50 million investment in a $1 billion fund. At the time of the Wolf sale, $9 million had been drawn at the time of the sale. Consequently, of the $1 billion fund, approximately $40 million was invested in Wolf

The additional funds needed for the buyout came from Wolf managers and a loan from M&T Bank.

By 2009, the Wolf Organization had lost nearly all of its value and was close to foreclosure from M&T and that is when Tom Wolf returned to the company in lieu of running for governor in the last cycle. He invested many of his liquid assets to do so.

Combined, he and his cousins reinvested millions, and Presidio invested additional millions, but the company has not yet been restored to its full value though it has increased in profitability.

Fast forward to 2013, Wolf wrote a $10 million check to finance his gubernatorial campaign. Some of that came from other investments, but less than half came from a loan from M&T Bank.

Wolf told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he hopes to see all of the investors in the Wolf Organization regain their investments and promised that outside investors would see their returns before himself personally.

The Pennsylvania GOP is piling on this report by launching an online petition asking Wolf to “give the money back.”

“Tom Wolf made millions of dollars at the expense of Pennsylvania taxpayers and retirees,” Communications Director Megan Sweeney said. “For months, Tom Wolf has denied that Pennsylvania has a pension crisis, without once acknowledging his role in making it worse. Now Tom Wolf is spending millions of dollars on his campaign for Governor rather than reimbursing the retirees and taxpayers who lost funds.

“Tom Wolf may be trying to ignore the pension crisis because of a guilty conscience, but Pennsylvanians want to have answers to the lingering questions that remain.  We invite all those who want answers to sign this petition and send Tom Wolf a message that it is time to come clean.”

PoliticsPA is seeking comment from the Wolf campaign about the petition.


17 Responses

  1. @robbie where is your comment about this.your quick to run your mouth when there is something positive.

  2. This is complicated. It’s difficult to sell complicated. But, “Why out of dozens of funds contacted did they end up with one with pension money in it?” That’s a simple, improbable reality.

    There’s something rotten in the state of York.

  3. What’s good for business and what’s right are sometimes two different things. Saddling the pension fund with an investment that at one time went to zero, saddling the business with debt it couldn’t keep up with, then having to cobble everything you have and borrowing half of your “personal” $10 million to run for governor is risky at best. Especially when everyone thinks you are successful and a self funder. There is probably more to this story still. Why out of dozens of funds contacted did they end up with one with pension money in it? How many people lost their jobs? Where are the cabinets with the Wolf name made if they aren’t in Pa? Is borrowing that amount of money to run for governor sane?

    People are going to start asking what the strategy is to win in November and that’s really what democrats should be focusing on. Wolf absolutely has the resources to win in May. Does he have the backstory and resources to win in November? I don’t believe so.

  4. The GOP criticism of Wolf, on this subject, left me confused. I got the GOP email about it, kept reading it, thinking I was missing something. I have concluded that the small children running Tom’s campaign know little or nothing about business, because they’ve spent their entire careers cocooned as GOP functionaries. This embarrassing attack ad will be forgotten. But it is not a good sign for the Corbett campaign. Please please please, Tom, get some professionals to run your campaign.

  5. The state GOP shows they know nothing about finance. The value of a company has nothing to do with what the pension receives back in disbursements (unless the company is worth zero and out of business). As long as there is a profit being turned, Presidio receives funds from Wolf, which in turn, part of it goes to PSERS. These investments take many many many years to pay off (unless it’s a lightning in the bottle investment). Playing off the lack of knowledge lay people have only shows how truly stupid this GOP strategy truly is. If McCord truly has a set of balls and is a good Dem, he should, with his experience on both sides of pension fund management, speak out on this.

  6. You always got to find something to twist to hurt the front runner. This makes me even work harder to get Wolf elected. Corbett is scared and republicans are scared. Vote Wolf.

  7. Wolf is a racist. Just ask Lillie Belle Allen. Oh wait, you can’t, she was murdered for being black during a race riot, killed by York’s Mayor Robertson whose campaign Wolf chaired.

  8. That is the part of the story that stinks though, right? That his company was bought with guaranteed backed pension dollars, freeing up Mr. Wolf to join the Rendell admin.

  9. Megan Sweeney better get her facts straight as no retiree is due any reimbursement. Every retiree remains whole, Megan!

  10. SO HERE WE GO! TeaParty Tom Corbett who’s only business experience is being legal counsel for a Waste Management Company now disses real Capitalists in this race like Tom Wolf and his own primary opponent Bob Guzzardi. Corbett has never been in the capitalist arena. But he loves Corporate Welfare Queens like the Cyber Charter School Mafia, Energy companies who fly him around and of course WORLD CLASS Jeff Romoff of UPMC, which is not World Class. These Profiteers are so entitled that they won’t even fight to get to the feeding the trough in Harrsiburg-they want to be fed restaurant style. And of course there are the true capitalists in his adminstration: Acting Governor Brabender, his Girl Friday, Gromis-Baker, Charly Zogby and Rob Gleason who are committing the mortal sin of Political Necrophilia. Sue: I can drive your husband to the political morgue for less than the fees that the Dark Prince will get and your family will maintain whatever integrity is left. Let me drive Tom’s hearse pro bono!

  11. WeirdWolf was a very vocal supporter of the convicted felons in the Bonusgate investigation.

  12. Keep the truth about Wolf coming! He’s inherited everything. Brags the he lives at the same house he was brought home to from the hospital as a baby, it’s a mansion on Mt. Wolf! If I inherited a mansion, I’d live there too

  13. The Republican party has no dignity left at the local, state or national level. They scream about the “job creators” and then launch a low blow attack like this.

  14. Apparently the Republican Party does not understand how business and free enterprise works. If you sell your business to someone and that person loses money, you don’t have to pay make up their loss. If it worked that way, then none of us would ever lose any money on the stock market when we buy stock from another person and the price falls. These goddamned Republicans always want a handout from someone else.

  15. Non-story.
    What is a story is an article in last week’s Philly Inquirer and featured here on PoliticsPA:
    Rob McCord Outsourced Jobs to India

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