|Gov. Deval Patrick said Tuesday he made a mistake by calling a top official at Citigroup on behalf of a struggling lending company on whose board he once served.|
Patrick issued the mea culpa in response to a Boston Globe story reporting he made the call on Feb. 20 to Citigroup’s Robert Rubin on behalf of ACC Capital Holdings while ACC sought an infusion of cash from Citigroup.
ACC is the parent company of Ameriquest, a mortgage company that has been accused of predatory lending practices. Patrick resigned from a $360,000-a-year position on ACC’s board of directors last May, saying he needed to focus his attention on his gubernatorial campaign.
Rubin and Patrick worked together in the Clinton presidential administration when Rubin was treasury secretary and Patrick was an assistant attorney general.
”As a former board member, I was asked by an officer of ACC Capital to serve as a reference for the company and agreed to do so,” Patrick said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. ”I called Robert Rubin, a former colleague from the Clinton administration and an executive at Citigroup, to offer any insight they might want on the character of the current management. The conversation with Mr. Rubin lasted at most a couple of minutes.
”Even though I made this call solely as a former board member, and I believe that was clear to Mr. Rubin, I appreciate that I should not have made the call. I regret the mistake.”
A watchdog group had questioned why Patrick would call a corporation whose interests in Massachusetts are regulated by the state.
Even liberal backers like Joan Vennochi can't believe this sort of mistake.
|"....He is asked to make a phone call to Citigroup by Adam Bass, senior executive and legal counsel to ACC Capital Holdings. Patrick, who resigned last year from the ACC board, makes the call, offering himself as a personal reference on ACC Capital Holdings.|
Can Patrick really believe his personal identity is separate from his elected position? Does he really believe the recipient of that telephone call - former US Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin, now a Citigroup executive - considered Patrick your average private citizen, and not governor of the Commonwealth, when he took it?
If Patrick does believe that, wow. He is not a new governor making rookie mistakes. He is a new governor who doesn't understand what it means to hold public office.
The phone call to Citigroup doesn't smack of political favoritism. It reeks of it.