Here’s an email that’s gone viral.
It’s about 76-year-old millionaire Richard Blum, husband of 79-year-old millionaire Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), who’s set to make millions of dollars in commission from the sale of 60 United States Postal Service buildings — buildings that were constructed with taxpayer dollars.
The email has been authenticated by the left-leaning Snopes to be TRUE.
The US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices. The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, many of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country.
Andrew S. Ross reports for the San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 8, 2013:
Along with the move to five-day mail delivery, selling post office buildings is part of the Postal Service plan to save $20 billion over the next three years. More than 600 buildings have been “earmarked for disposal” nationwide, at a savings of $2.1 billion, according to the Postal Service’s 2012 report to Congress. […]
In charge of selling the facilities for the Postal Service is CB Richard Ellis Group, one of the world’s largest real estate companies, chaired by San Francisco financier Dick Blum. CBRE, which has worked with the post office since 1997, was awarded the exclusive contract to market Postal Service facilities in 2011. Blum is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a relationship some critics of the post office have duly noted.
“Historically, USPS has worked with multiple real estate service providers. The new contract enables USPS to consolidate these activities with one service provider,” CBRE said in a statement at the time.
On its website, CBRE shows 57 post offices nationwide listed for sale or in the process of being sold. […]
As for accusations of a conflict of interest and suspicions that Feinstein may have influenced the awarding of the contract to her husband’s firm, Feinstein’s office strongly denies the charges.
“Sen. Feinstein is not involved with and does not discuss any of her husband’s business decisions with him. Her husband’s holdings are his separate personal property. Sen. Feinstein’s assets are held in a blind trust. That arrangement has been in place since before she came to the Senate in 1992,” said Brian Weiss, Feinstein’s communications director. In 2012, Feinstein voted for an amendment to a postal reform bill that would have temporarily halted post office closings. The amendment was defeated in the House.
Both the Postal Service and CBRE insisted the 2011 contract was competitively bid. The Postal Service is an independent agency that reports to Congress, but there is no indication Congress plays any role in the awarding of contracts.
This is not the first time Blum’s business dealings have led to accusations of cronyism. From Wikipedia:
Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband’s government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing, however. Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company (Perini) controlled by Blum may raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife. URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600m defense contract.
In 2009 it was reported that Blum’s wife Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband’s real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what the Washington Times called “a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.”
Feinstein and Blum are, respectively, 79 and 76 years old. Some super-rich people just never seem to have enough money. Though both are Jewish by ancestry, their “god” is Mammon.
H/t FOTM’s joworth and my sis-in-law Shireen.