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Thread: How Frank Biden leveraged his famous name for business gain

  1. #1

    How Frank Biden leveraged his famous name for business gain

    January 17, 2020

    In 2009, the year Joe Biden took office as vice president, a local business executive met the politician’s younger brother, Frank, at a Starbucks in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and later asked him to become the president and front man for a fledgling charter school venture.

    Frank Biden, a longtime real estate developer in the state, accepted the offer, and over the years, he touted his famous last name and prominent connections in Washington to help land the company a series of charter contracts from local officials in Florida to open charter schools, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars over a five-year period from the company in the process.

    In media interviews at the time, Frank Biden was unabashed – calling his last name “a tremendous asset” because of the family’s record of “taking care of people who need help,” and telling people it brought him “automatic acceptance” as he sought government approvals for the for-profit Mavericks in Education.

    Claims of mismanagement would ultimately bog down many of those schools, which focused on educating at-risk teens with troubled backgrounds. In at least two separate lawsuits, Mavericks schools faced allegations of inflating enrollment as part of a scheme to garner more government funding. The charters were eventually sold and the schools reorganized under new management.

    Critics suggest that when Frank Biden touted his family name to promote the Mavericks’ charter schools, it was just one example of the Biden family actively benefiting from sharing a name with the vice president. Now it could pose challenges for the former VP as he seeks the Democratic Party nomination for president, even when Joe Biden has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

    “Joe Biden needs to recognize it’s a problem,” Richard Painter, a former chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, told Politico in August. “You can’t control your brothers. You can’t control your grown son. But you can put some firewalls in place in your own office.” If elected, Biden’s campaign has committed to issuing an executive order on his first day in office to "address conflicts of interest of any kind," and has repeatedly said he and his family have never discussed private business interests.

    Kinship-as-currency is hardly a new phenomenon in Washington. But as Joe Biden makes his third run at the nation’s highest office, he has already confronted a sustained political attack on the decision by his son, Hunter, to accept a position on the board of directors for a Ukrainian energy firm – a decision that has figured prominently into the debate over President Trump’s impeachment. The president has repeatedly called the Bidens “crooked,” particularly with regard to Hunter Biden’s business activities.


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  3. #2
    Add him to the witness list

  4. #3

    How five members of Joe Biden’s family got rich through his connections

    January 18, 2020

    Political figures have long used their families to route power and benefits for their own self-enrichment. In my new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” one particular politician — Joe Biden — emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largesse, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even U.S. taxpayer dollars.

    The Biden family’s apparent self-enrichment involves no less than five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, son-in-law Howard, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie.

    When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, “I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”

    As we will see, this is far from the case…

    James Biden

    James (right) and Sara Biden.

    Joe Biden’s younger brother, James, has been an integral part of the family political machine from the earliest days when he served as finance chair of Joe’s 1972 Senate campaign, and the two have remained quite close. After Joe joined the U.S. Senate, he would bring his brother James along on congressional delegation trips to places like Ireland, Rome and Africa.

    When Joe became vice president, James was a welcomed guest at the White House, securing invitations to such important functions as a state dinner in 2011 and the visit of Pope Francis in 2015. Sometimes, James’ White House visits dovetailed with his overseas business dealings, and his commercial opportunities flourished during his brother’s tenure as vice president.

    Consider the case of HillStone International, a subsidiary of the huge construction management firm, Hill International. The president of HillStone International was Kevin Justice, who grew up in Delaware and was a longtime Biden family friend. On November 4, 2010, according to White House visitors’ logs, Justice visited the White House and met with Biden adviser Michele Smith in the Office of the Vice President.

    Less than three weeks later, HillStone announced that James Biden would be joining the firm as an executive vice president. James appeared to have little or no background in housing construction, but that did not seem to matter to HillStone. His bio on the company’s website noted his “40 years of experience dealing with principals in business, political, legal and financial circles across the nation and internationally…”

    James Biden was joining HillStone just as the firm was starting negotiations to win a massive contract in war-torn Iraq. Six months later, the firm announced a contract to build 100,000 homes. It was part of a $35 billion, 500,000-unit project deal won by TRAC Development, a South Korean company. HillStone also received a $22 million U.S. federal government contract to manage a construction project for the State Department.

    David Richter, son of the parent company’s founder, was not shy in explainingHillStone’s success in securing government contracts. It really helps, he told investors at a private meeting, to have “the brother of the vice president as a partner,” according to someone who was there.

    The Iraq project was massive, perhaps the single most lucrative project for the firm ever. In 2012, Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business reported that HillStone officials expected the project to “generate $1.5 billion in revenues over the next three years.” That amounted to more than three times the revenue the company produced in 2011.

    A group of minority partners, including James Biden, stood to split about $735 million. “There’s plenty of money for everyone if this project goes through,” said one company official.

    The deal was all set, but HillStone made a crucial error. In 2013, the firm was forced to back out of the contract because of a series of problems, including a lack of experience by Hill and TRAC Development, its South Korean associate firm. But HillStone continued doing significant contract work in the embattled country, including a six-year contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    James Biden remained with Hill International, which accumulated contracts from the federal government for dozens of projects, including projects in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mozambique, and elsewhere.


  5. #4
    FIVE of them? Like cockroaches...

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