In a controversial investment deal that led to a federal inquiry, Mitt Romney personally signed SEC documents reporting the sale of Bain Capital shares in 2000 and 2001 -- during the time when he was on leave of absence to run the Salt Lake Olympic Games.
The Boston Globe reported in 2003, during the SEC investigation, that "Romney... signed the SEC's necessary documents for Bain when his company -- and he as an individual shareholder -- sold their stakes in DDi in the fall of 2000 and in the winter and spring of 2001. SEC records indicate that Romney remained well into 2001 as a general partner in three of the four Bain funds that are involved in the DDi transactions."
Romney was governor at the time of the federal investigation. His press secretary at the time, Shawn Feddeman, was quoted by the Globe defending Romney as uninvolved in decisions during his leave of absence: "Governor Romney gave up all operational and day-to-day management responsibilities of Bain Capital in February 1999 to run the Olympics.... It wasn't until 2001 that he made the final decision to run the Olympics."
That is similar to the Romney campaign's claims this week about those years. However, Feddeman's statement differs somewhat from current claims, from the campaign and from Bain Capital, that Romney initiated a full severing of ties in early 1999, and that the delay in finalizing his separation was due to the complexity of the corporate entities and the suddenness of his departure.
Romney and Bain invested in DDi prior to Romney leaving for Salt Lake. Bain reportedly netted some $36 million when it sold the shares, nearly doubling its investment.
The fact that Romney signed documents for selling his own personal holdings in DDi -- close to 200,000 shares worth over $4 million -- at the same time that he did so for Bain Capital, could raise additional questions, as it suggests that he was likely familiar enough with the deal to be making personal investment decisions.
DDi was part of a broader investigation, which resulted in Lehman Brothers paying a $1.4 billion settlement in 2003.
In the case of DDi, the SEC alleged that, despite serious misgivings of Lehman's research analysts, Lehman initiated a "1-Buy" recommendation on the company's stock, after pressure from both Bain Capital and Lehman's banking arm, which was handling the DDi Initial Public Offering. Lehman put a price target of $36 on DDi shares in its June, 2000 recommendation; the stock later plummeted, and the stock was delisted in 2003.