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.