Patrick's Ameriquest baggage, cont.

Take it with a big fat grain of salt, since 1199 SEIU endorsed Tom Reilly last month. But here's a letter the group just sent hammering Patrick for his Ameriquest ties.

Somewhere, Tom Reilly is smiling.

May 3, 2006

Deval Patrick

Democratic Candidate for Governor

The Deval Patrick Committee

56 Roland Street, Suite 100D

Boston, Massachusetts 02129

Dear Deval:

The members and leadership of 1199SEIU were extremely disappointed today to read reports that the direct subsidiary of ACC Capitol Holding Board, Ameriquest, has chosen to fire up to 90 Massachusetts workers and approximately 3,800 employees nationwide.  As one of five board members for ACC Capital Holding Board, the execution of these layoffs certainly fell within your oversight. 

In addition, it’s also troubling to learn that you knew about these layoffs ahead of time, and yet did not take the proper steps to give the workers or the state advance notice as indicated by the spokesman for the Massachusetts Division of Banks in today’s Boston Globe.  Ameriquest was required by law to give the Massachusetts Division of Banks 30 days notice before closing branch offices, and yet it failed to do so.

This is the latest in a long line of anti-worker and anti-consumer practices in which  Ameriquest has engaged.  These layoffs come in the wake of Ameriquest's $325 million settlement with Attorneys General in 49 states, including Massachusetts. The settlement included a $12 million penalty for Massachusetts consumers who were taken advantage of by the deceptive tactics of Ameriquest, threatening their most valuable asset - their homes.

The Attorneys General also alleged Ameriquest falsified loan documents, inflated borrowers' earnings to tie them into costlier loans, and used high-pressure tactics to force them into bad loans. All the while, Ameriquest was spending millions on high-impact advertising campaigns, including Super Bowl sponsorships and backing the massive Rolling Stones tour of North America.

You have defended Ameriquest's practices, calling it a "good" company and defending its owner, Roland Arnall, even encouraging the United States Senate to reward him with an ambassadorship to the Netherlands. Arnall and his wife were significant donors to President Bush's campaign and helped fund attack ads against Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry.

You have also refused to disclose how much money you are being paid to sit on this board of directors. Did you propose to reduce the compensation of executives and board members to offset the amount of layoffs of workers? We believe you should make clear how many hundreds of thousands of dollars you are making while at the same time consenting to fire dozens of Massachusetts workers.

You have a choice to make - either you are on the side of Massachusetts residents or you are on the side of one of the worst examples of corporate greed. With Ameriquest's massive firings of workers and long history of preying on consumers in Massachusetts, you should immediately resign your position on the board of ACC Capitol Holding Board, the parent company of Ameriquest.

We appreciate in advance your immediate response.

Mike Fadel

Executive Vice President

1199SEIU United Health Care Workers East

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