Deval Patrick, Ameriquest, Senator Obama
Wanted Diplomatic Post For Sleazy Exec
Throughout this gubernatorial race, the Boston- area media has worked to constantly reinforce the idea that Deval Patrick is the second coming of Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill). Both are said to represent the "new face" of the Democrat Party: younger, energetic and passionate.
While Obama's (seen in photo) been able to maintain a squeaky- clean image, however, Patrick has an awful lot of unpleasant baggage. And in a weird convergence between the two, they were on opposite sides over the issue of whether a sleazy corporate executive should be appointed ambassador to The Netherlands.
And guess which side Patrick was on?
From the Boston Herald:
While raking in a $360,000 salary as an Ameriquest board member, Deval Patrick wrote a letter supporting an ambassadorship for the embattled mortgage lender’s top executive, a move that was strongly fought by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Obama, a rising star in the Democratic party who is in Boston today to support Patrick’s bid for governor, opposed Ameriquest CEO Roland Arnall’s October 2005 appointment as ambassador to the Netherlands, citing the company’s record of predatory lending.
In 1996, Ameriquest paid $4 million in fines after Patrick, then a top attorney in the United States Justice Department, leveled charges that the California-based firm ripped off minority, elderly and low-income homeowners. In January - while Patrick was on the company’s board - Ameriquest agreed to a landmark $325 million payout to settle similar complaints in 49 states, including Massachusetts.
“I don’t think it sends a good message that an ambassador to an important ally like the Netherlands has a cloud hanging over him,” Obama testified in October 2005 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But Patrick, in an Oct. 19, 2005 letter to the committee, praised Arnall as a “good man” who would be a “fine ambassador.” In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Herald, Patrick details how he worked closely with Arnall to settle the 1996 dispute and says he joined the Ameriquest board at Arnall’s urging.
“He wanted me to become a member of the board to help the company use this latest crisis as a platform for change,” Patrick wrote.
Despite opposition from Obama and other Democrats, Arnall, a billionaire who donated $5 million in soft money to President Bush’s re-election campaign, was named ambassador to the Netherlands in February.
So much for the Obama - Patrick image the Boston media would like to you to believe.
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Obama photo: NBC