This doesn’t look good….
The New York Times reports that last September, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) set up a meeting with Treasury Department bank regulators for several minority-owned banks, including OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. At the meeting, OneUnited’s CEO, Kevin Cohee, bluntly asked the officials for $50 million in bailout money.
But what Waters didn’t disclose was that her husband, Stanley Williams, had served on the bank’s board of directors until early 2008, and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the bank. Treasury learned that fact only later.
One official told the Times:
“It angers me. You got to know you have to be careful when you are dealing with people who you have personal relations with.
In the end, OneUnited didn’t get that $50 million, but it did get $12 million in TARP funds, becoming the first minority owned bank to cash in through the program.
This is hardly the first allegation against OneUnited. Adds the Times:
[I]t had been harshly criticized by regulators in 2007 for failing to give a sufficient number of loans to lower income residents in Miami, while favoring wealthier customers there.
[T]he F.D.I.C. sanctioned the institution in October 2008 for “unsafe or unsound banking practices,” including excessive compensation for Mr. Cohee. The bank had provided him with a 2008 Porsche SUV and maintained his $6.4 million beachfront compound in Santa Monica. Calif., with views of the Pacific and a spa and pool.
For his part, Cohee suggested to the Times that race is at the heart of the issue. “This is where the race issue comes in,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal detailed some of the ties between Waters, who sits on the House Financial Services committee, and OneUnited, in a report (sub. req.) published earlier today.