* This whole idea that gay marriage ought to be decided via referendum, when Illinois has no binding referendum provisions, is basically just a dodge. Likely gubernatorial candidate Sen. Kirk Dillard is for deciding the issue by referendum, and so is Bruce Rauner. From his appearance on WLS Radio this morning…
Cohn: This has been an important topic that’s being discussed all around the country right now - gay marriage. Where do you stand on gay marriage?
Rauner: Gay marriage is, it’s an important issue. I think it’s best decided by the voters. Frankly either voter referendum or whatever format voters think makes sense. I think the voters should decide that issue.
Cohn: You don’t have a personal feeling about gay marriage?
Rauner: I really don’t. I think it’s best done by the voters. By society should accept it when the time is right for them. […]
I believe the voters should decide on gay marriage. That’s not lacking leadership, that’s saying voters decide. If, for example, the legislature passes gay marriage, I’m not gonna fight to reverse it. If they don’t pass it, I’m not gonna advocate for it. At the right time, the voters will make their views known. I think that’s a good outcome.
Rauner said he wants to focus like a laser on other issues that are important to him…
There are many very important social issues - reproductive rights, abortion, gay marriage, other issues - and the reality is, our state is in dire, dire condition. And if we argue among ourselves on social issues today rather than focusing like a laser on our economy, on the graft in the inefficiency and corruption and waste in springfield and on our education system - which is the future for our children and the Illinois economy - unless we focus like a laser on those three issues, if we allow ourselves to get distracted by other arguments, they’re important arguments, but if we allow ourselves to get distracted, we won’t fix the core problems of the state.
He’s running for governor, not office manager.
Just because a candidate wants to focus on a set of issues and avoid another set doesn’t mean he’ll be allowed to. Eventually, he’s gonna have to answer these questions.
* Meanwhile, yesterday’s post about some of Rauner’s past business dealings prompted an ally of one of his opponents to toss some opposition research over the transom. From that OR report about Rauner’s involvement in Lason, Inc. through his company GTCR…
After Gaining Control Of The Company, GTCR Installed William Rauwerdink As CFO Of Lason. “Ironically, shortly after GTCR’s original investment in Lason in the mid-1990s, the firm installed as CFO William Rauwerdink, who was fresh off of an SEC settlement related to insider trading charges.” (“Watercooler,” Mergers & Acquisitions, 8/1/11)
Rauwerdink Had Settled With The SEC Over Insider Trading Charges Shortly Before Being Hired At Lason. “Ironically, shortly after GTCR’s original investment in Lason in the mid-1990s, the firm installed as CFO William Rauwerdink, who was fresh off of an SEC settlement related to insider trading charges.” (“Watercooler,”Mergers & Acquisitions, 8/1/11)
In 2003, Rauwerdink And Two Other Lason Executives Were Indicted For Conspiring To Commit Fraud And Lying To The Securities And Exchange Commission.
Lason Filed For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy In December of 2001. “Lason Inc., once a high-flying high-tech company, soughtbankruptcy protection Wednesday, after amassing more than $ 360 million in debt in recent years.” (“Troy, Michigan-Based High-Tech Firm Seeks BankruptcyProtection,” Detroit Free Press, 12/6/01)
Lason Had Burned Through $450 Million In Cash, $220 Million In Stock, And Amassed $320 Million In Debt By Purchasing 76 Companies In 4 Years. “The company’s road from rising tech power to bankruptcy illustrates the perils of growing too fast. Risher, who joined the company in November 2000 as chief financial officer, said Lason’s prior management team spent roughly $450 million in cash and $220 million in stock to acquire 76 companies in four years. The buying spree loaded Lason with about $320 million in debt, causing a flurry of troubles over the past several years.”(Cheryl Meyer, “Buying bing, faulty books drove Lason into bankruptcy,” Daily Deal,12/7/01)
Lason’s Disastrous Acquisitions Strategy Began While GTCR Was The Controlling Shareholder. “The company’s historical strength is as a printing company for automakers and companies who needed a company to print paychecks, bills and statements. Lason acquired eight companies before 1996, and Monroe estimates the company has purchased 50 more since.” (Brent Snavely, “Lason’sbuying binge sends company into stock free fall,” Crain’s Detroit Business, 7/3/00)
Rauner Served On Lason’s Board Of Directors For Nearly The Entire Period Of The Company’s Buying Binge.
GTCR Profited From Lason While Shareholders Lost Everything
Ordinary Shareholders Were Wiped Out By The Lason Bankruptcy. “The company will cancel its current stock, now trading under LSONQ over the counter on pink sheets at 3 cents per share, and issue 30 million new shares of common stock with the majority, 26.25 million, going to the remaining creditors. Current shareholderswill get nothing.” (Jeff Bennett, “Judge Approves Rescue Plan for Troy, Mich.-Based Tech Firm Lason,” Detroit Free Press, 5/1/02)
One Shareholder Reported Losing $50,000 He Had Saved For His Daughter’s College Tuition. “David Norman feels a little vindicated today, knowing the men who may have had a hand in making his $50,000 investment disappear have been charged for their involvement in the downfall of Lason Inc. Norman, 41, of Romulus bought shares of the Troy-based company’s stock through his 401(k) plan in 2000. He thought he was getting in on the ground floor, even though the stock was trading at $2 after hitting a high of $64.94 in 1999…As for Norman, he would like the chance to show Monroe and Messinger the red ink splashed across his portfolio. “I have a daughter who is 2 1/2, and I was going to use the money to send her to the University of Michigan, but who knows now if she will be able to go,” he said. “I am afraid to invest anymore because we have been burned. What company is going to do it to us next?”” (Jeff Bennett, “Troy, Mich., High-Tech FirmShareholders Take Solace in Executive Indictments,” Detroit Free Press, 5/16/03)
Go read the whole thing.
That could make a good TV ad. More to come, I’m sure.
* And this is from the Rauner campaign…
Bruce Rauner announced the addition of Dick Uihlein, Mike Keiser and Matt Kibbe to his Exploratory Committee.
Dick Uihlein and Mike Keiser are distinguished entrepreneurs and business leaders, and Matt Kibbe is a highly-regarded figure in the conservative movement. Brief biographies of each individual are below.
“Two things Illinois desperately needs are jobs and a fresh approach to government in Springfield. I am extremely excited to add to my exploratory committee respected leaders who know what it takes to create more jobs and shake up state government,” said Bruce Rauner. “All three bring great political and business insight to the committee. I couldn’t be more excited to have their support.”
Uihlein has been a huge backer of Dan Proft in the past. Kibbe is President and CEO of FreedomWorks.