WE HAZ A CONFUSED  1:03 pm August 10, 2012

NYT’s Mitt Romney Beat-Sweetener Story Curiously Skimpy On Heart-Warmth

by Rebecca Schoenkopf

For I'm a jolly good fellow, fellows!Wonkers are all media elites and State Department retirees, so we don’t need to explain to you that a “beat sweetener” is a puff piece about a person, place, or thing meant to guarantee further access down the line. And that seems to be the purpose of this New York Times piece on Mitt Romney selling a house to a couple of Olds. The gauzily written piece, though, seems to promise a lot more heart-warming generosity than actually surfaces. It’s confusing, really, unless the purpose of the piece is to (again) show that Mitt Romney is actually sort of a horrible businessman.

So Romney bought some rent-to-own houses, one for each son, as an investment. (Good thing rent-to-own is never shady.) But then the market crashed, and the rent-to-own houses weren’t worth anything, because Mitt Romney is terrible at business. So after a while, Romney called up the Olds who lived in one of the houses, and offered to sell it to them. And that’s … it?

Oh, right, no, he also got some hefty deductions off the whole thing:

The deal, Mr. Jolly said, was “a marvelous scheme” to help renters who could not qualify for a mortgage to eventually buy their houses, while allowing investors to write off depreciation and mortgage interest on their taxes without risking their own money: most purchases were 100-percent financed with first and second mortgages from Texas banks.

The prospectus for the investment, called the Gem Plan, played up the tax shelter benefits, saying it was structured “so that deductions are projected to be twice the amount of the cash required each year.”

Win-win, obviously.

Mr. Romney borrowed more than $300,000 to buy the properties, according to property records. Rental income covered expenses for a time, but with the market downturn in the 1980s, the deal quickly soured.

Property records show that liens for unpaid community association fees were filed against two of Mr. Romney’s houses and that the mortgages on them were soon underwater. By the end of the decade, the homebuilder who sold the houses to Mr. Romney went bankrupt, and some other investors’ houses were in foreclosure.

So to get out from under these moneypits, Romney offered one of the houses to his renters. And that is the entire story of what a great guy Mitt Romney is, and a marvelous illustration of his unheralded generosity.

No, here’s one thing that might be genuinely nice:

When Mr. Stamps took the call from Mr. Romney, he and his wife, a nurse, had all but given up hope of being able to buy the house they had been renting for five years. Mr. Romney told him it looked like the couple had been taking good care of the property and that “we would be good people to buy it,” said Mr. Stamps.

Or he could have just wanted someone, anyone, to take the “sour” deal off his hands. Anyway, this nice couple has been paying Mitt Romney $600 per month for the past 15 years on their $50,000 mortgage that he personally holds. So, to recap, Mitt Romney is a great guy because he might sell you something that is no longer making him money. The Torah says to do your good deeds in secret; Mitt Romney seems to have really taken the stricture to heart.

[NYT]

 
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{ 123 comments }

Barb_ August 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Hey Romney, where's the worth certificate?
Release those tax returns.

eggsacklywright August 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

"You people don't need to see my Tagg's returns."

Callyson August 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Worth certificate = WIN.

Barb_ August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thanks Callyson! TGiF to ya.

JustPixelz August 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

A little OT, but Rinse Penis says "show us the tax returns" is the EXACT SAME THING as "show us the birth certificate". I can think of five differences without breaking a sweat. Anyhootenany, poor* Mittens doesn't like being vettenated.
____________________________
* he's not really poor

Willardbot9000_V2.5 August 11, 2012 at 2:36 am

Yes except there's one little, teeny detail Reich Penis has left out while trying to draw a straight line between birthers and worthers: Bamz released the cert. multiple times. He released it as part of Presidential filings, he released it to the media..he released it to organization after organization. When the race-baggers still wouldn't shut the fuck up he released a copy going well above the legal requirments for the document. So, when Reich is trying to pretend the two are equivolents someone should remind them of the key distinction: over and above v. bupkis. He needs to just the shut the fuck up and go change his name, also.

Limeylizzie August 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Please can we have the fudge-packing pic of Mittens, I really like that one?

Callyson August 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Hey! I *like* chocolate…

…oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be trying to lose a few pounds…

Please can we have the fudge-packing pic of Mittens?

mlle_derp August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Don't know about you, but I find that ANY pic of Mitt acts as an appetite suppressant.

But if chocolate is your weakness, I can see how that one would linger in the mind & have a more long-lasting effect.

chicken_thief August 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

The quality chocolate is supposed to be essentially fat/sugar free. Skip the Hershey's and go for the Godiva and lose, lose, lose those pesky pounds!

Angry_Marmot August 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

If any of you are thinking fudge packing ≡ chocolate consumption (as)
drinking ≡ vodka tampon, I'm afraid you're in for a disappointment.

MissTaken August 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Me too, but this pic sets a new douchebaggery highwater mark.

Gleem McShineys August 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

How about the Best of Both Worlds?

bobbert August 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

(Non-latex golf clap)

Harrison Wintergreen August 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

"Wonkers are all media elites and State Department retirees…"

Uh oh. I'm neither; should I self-deport?

rickmaci August 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Hmmm. Never worked in the State Department. I did work one summer when I was in school in the Shoe Department of a department store, so maybe that is close enough.

actor212 August 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Please? It would save us an awful lot of trouble

Harrison Wintergreen August 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Oh dear. No Dream Act for me?

commiegirl99 August 11, 2012 at 12:09 am

I hereby Dream Act you, HW. Don't listen to Actor, he is a catty fucking bitch.

freakishlywrong August 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Has this idiot bought a baseball team or an oil company yet? He sounds about as savvy as the last asshole Republican we had in there.

iburl August 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

As they both proved, you don't need to be savvy if you have the right daddy.

OneYieldRegular August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I still don't understand in the least why someone as out of touch and unsuited for the international stage as Mitt Romney is running for President, unless it's to help settle some unresolved psychological daddy thing.

HistoriCat August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I'm working on a theory – Mitt was OK with calling it quits after 2008 (hey – I tried Dad, hope you're proud of me!) but Ann pushed him into running again.

Geminisunmars August 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm

And her issue is that she wants to prove that she married a winner. Retroactively.

ibwilliamsi August 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

"It's his turn!"

Chet Kincaid_ August 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Are you forgetting that Mitt is richer than God and his own Dad combined? Mitt's no idiot; he's clueless, which is a different thing.

iburl August 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Well, it helps that his dad was alive when rich people were taxed at 90% and now they can pay no taxes for 10 years (so I've heard).

SorosBot August 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Well at least this deal didn't kill anyone, unlike his Bain work.

Sue4466 August 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Yet.

Chet Kincaid_ August 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

(Wagging finger) That is just so wrong!! I would rather lose with integrity than stoop to such tactics!!

YouBetcha August 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Good luck trying to explain a real estate transaction with any degree of complexity to the average Romney voter. All they see is "Romney" and "olds", and they're set. I betcha the black fella never gave houses to the AARP. Also, death panels.

johnnyzhivago August 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Were the Stamps Mormons???

beezie687 August 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

So Mittens dumped his toxic asset on an unsuspecting middle class. Yep, that sounds about right!

chicken_thief August 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Only after a getting a few years of double net deductions. He ain't stoopid, ya know.

TavariousChinaSmith August 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Why own property when you can own tenants?

Biel_ze_Bubba August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

No retroactive sales, back when the market was soaring? Mitt's losing his touch.

nounverb911 August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Is this where Rafalca lives?

Oblios_Cap August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Her house is much nicer.

Goonemeritus August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Well if he wins the election maybe at the end of his term he will offer to sell the country back to us.

johnnyzhivago August 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Mr. Jolly, 76, laughed when told that Mr. Romney was still collecting mortgage payments on one of the houses he talked him into buying 30 years ago.

“That sounds like Mitt,” he said. “He never gives up.”

I'm sure he's still collecting interest on the 25 cents he lent to some kid to buy bubble gum 60 years ago too…

lunchbox360 August 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I sure he is still pissed he didn't charge that "ALTERNATIVE LIFE STYLED" kid he knew in high school for his hair cut.

mlle_derp August 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Are you sure that he didn't? In lunch money?

chicken_thief August 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

The kid had no lunch money so Mitt made him pay off in blow jobs.

Jus_Wonderin August 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

A certain someone still owes him money for a haircut the gave.

Lionel[redacted]Esq August 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

But did this investment lead to the killing of any nuns or priest? Otherwise, it seems pretty boring, especially by Wall Street Standards.

ChillBill August 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

As a NYT commenter pointed out, if you do the math, the old man is apparently paying "Good Samaritan" Mitt and interest rate of 13% for this loan.

Oblios_Cap August 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

If the old feller put into savings, he'd only be able to make 1.5%. It's not like the cash is doing him any good.

Besides, the payment is all going to interest. So Mr. Old can write it off his taxes, I'm sure.

Tundra Grifter August 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

CB:

A 30-year $50,000 mortgage that has a $600 monthly payment works out to 14.19% interest. Obviously, one would have to read the note, but that's the answer based on the available information.

It does make one wonder what the rent was fifteen years ago.

Some of these "lease-to-own" deals have a combination rent/downpayment structure in the early years. That's one of the reasons they are often crappy deals for the buyer. The "down" is forfit if the buyer can't perform.

What's really astonishing about this deal is that some smooth talker didn't refinance the mortgage during the sub-prime mortgage heyday.

MissTaken August 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Didn't Jesus charge the money changers at the Temple 14% interest?

SorosBot August 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

That was the liberal socialist hippie Jesus; the good free-market supply-side Jesus from Conservapedia's rewriting of the Bible totally supports the money changers.

Chet Kincaid_ August 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

And Jesus went into the Temple of God and screamed, "where the Hell is My cut?!"

ChillBill August 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Thanks, TG. The old man probably has the credit rating of Uganda, otherwise he'd probably gotten out of this "deal" a while back.

Tundra Grifter August 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

CB:

One of his problems is that he's probably been paying his mortgage to (r)Money like clockwork, but (r)Money doesn't report to a credit bureau. So the Stamps are not improving their FICO score with a decade and a half of excellent payment history.

It's very tough to rebuild a positive credit history if you don't keep using credit in a responsible manner.

BerkeleyBear August 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

For that matter, a 14 percent loan in 1997 was pretty high end. Even before sub-prime went global, double digits were pretty rare in the late 90s/early 00s – makes me wonder what math (if any) went into the note beyond "So, how much can you afford to pay for the rest of your life?"

SorosBot August 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

But I don't like beets, even if they are sweetened.

GunToting[Redacted] August 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Borscht libel!

Isyaignert August 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

OT – but I hate beets too – they taste like dirt. When I was a kid my mom would make me eat them, but I thought I was so smart to stealthily put them in my hand, then drop them on the floor under my chair to be retrieved later. Since I had to wash dishes and sweep the kitchen floor every night after dinner, it seemed like a brilliant plan, except that the kitchen floor that was once white, now had permanant big purple dots. Busted!!

Geminisunmars August 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Yum. Pickled beets. But you gotta remember that you've eaten them when you next go to the toilet.

ManchuCandidate August 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Even the puff pieces are robotic. Hey Mittens, I'll even give you a new campaign slogan (for free.)

"Vote for Mitt, He's got the personality and charisma of an Excel Spreadsheet."*

*but not the Paperclip. Gilbert Gottfried exudes warmth and charisma that Mittens can not match.

thedeathofirony August 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

All the charm of Microsoft Bob.

weejee August 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

And this is vastly different than used car peddlers using rattle-can black spray paint to put a happy face on an oil-leaking engine block?

mlle_derp August 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Vastly. Does the NYT do puff pieces on used car salesmen?

Callyson August 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

a “beat sweetener” is a puff piece about a person, place, or thing meant to guarantee further access down the line

You mean it isn't a house music technique? Or an S&M treat? Yawn…

ChillBill August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

In Mitt's case, you have to use Splenda.

Angry_Marmot August 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I thought "Beat sweetener" was a benzedrine inhaler.

chicken_thief August 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Or anyone else's hand.

second_gen August 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

What an awesome guy. So far, he's only made a profit of $57,500 off this deal, not including the likely $36,000 he got from them for rent. Over all, I'd say he's a philanthropist for only getting $93500 in profit off of them from a $50,000 home. (so far)

GuyClinch August 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hey, I've been paying Mr. Romney every week on the title loan he gave me on my 1994 Ford Aspire since 2007, and he's been more than fair. 229% is a good interest rate, right?

SheriffRoscoe August 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Romney sits atop a giant no-money-down real estate pyramid scheme. Wise investors will want to get in before the whole thing collapses.

ManchuCandidate August 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Tom Vu Libel!

SheriffRoscoe August 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

He's the mormon Carleton Sheets, without the razzle dazzle.

emmelemm August 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

That takes me back!

OneYieldRegular August 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

"Get off you butt! Look at these babes!"

proudgrampa August 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Good times!

Dudleydidwrong August 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Maybe the image of Mitt sitting on top of a sharp-pointy pyramid is the best that I can take away from this Friday's news. Gonna be a bad weekend.

edgydrifter August 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Romney felt his renters would be "good people" to buy the house because their money was just the right height.

Biel_ze_Bubba August 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Foisting his failed investments off on others? Where have we seen that before? I bet Mitt's unhappy that he didn't get to fire anybody first.

mwittier August 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Beets are sweet,
and Mitt's the pits.
If he gets your vote
then wrists'll slit.

Billmatic August 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I thought beat sweeteners were those helium soul vocals Kanye adds to tracks.

Oblios_Cap August 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

He couldn't just give the house to the Oldz – how would they ever learn about the benefits of good, hard work?

Generation[redacted] August 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Mitt Romney gave me a payday loan with no credit check! And then another payday loan to pay off the previous one! He's a prince of a guy.

James Michael Curley August 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

This is totally bogus. A little closer examination by the Times reporter should reveal that Congress, in 1997, was trying to shed as much of the property as possible that had been acquired by the Feds (remember the Savings and Loan Debacle?) in various agencies to prevent numerous savings banks from going under – Lincoln Trust anyone.

The Torch (Robert Torricelli) was one of the principal sponsors of the bill which effectively shed all the Resolution Trust properties but gave mortgagors a little kicker, like 1.75 percentage points over open market mortgage rates with the 1.75 % being paid by Fannie Mae to help guarantee the loans for the mortgagees. In half a year tens of thousands of parcels of property were snapped up at prices which often were above market; but many were at 'fire sale' prices. The new owner then was faced with a mortgage which was fairly competitive but as long as he had the same mortgage the mortgagor got that extra bonus payment.

Nobody liked it but the thinking was it was going to be the only way to get the properties off the books. It was also know that many non banking groups would benefit.

Of course, Mitt could then have taken a healthy depreciation on the property, even filing as an individual with a tax deduction which no longer exists.

Tundra Grifter August 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Thank you for explaining “beat sweetener.”

When I first read it I thought it was fap oil.

widestanceromance August 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Don't ask how I know that honey is a terrible fap oil.

mlle_derp August 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Oh, no- the bears! THE BEARS!!!1! Aurrrghhhh!

Chet Kincaid_ August 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

The bees!! The bees!!

Franknflower August 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

All I got out of that is that the Riches have elaborate schemes for making money out of failure.

Isyaignert August 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Then, I'd say you understand the point of the article.

Extemporanus August 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm
Geminisunmars August 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

You never seize to amaze.

pinkocommi August 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

If Romney likes firing people so much, just imagine the thrills he'd get from evicting them.

SayItWithWookies August 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

See kids — if you work hard and save your pennies and say your prayers, then one day maybe Mitten Claus will make a fairly standard real estate deal with you. Try not to look too excited.

NYNYNYjr August 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

IF you look like you've been taking care of the property.

BarackMyWorld August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Inevitable comparison to Obama's "dealings" with Tony Resko in 3, 2, 1…

OneYieldRegular August 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

As a bonus, Mitt told the Stamps that if they just kept tilling the land for another seven years, they'd be able to buy their freedom from serfdom.

imissopus August 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

The Torah might say to do all your good deeds in secret, but the golden tablets of Moroni say to fleece all the gentiles because they are a bunch of suckers and you want your own planet someday, don't you?

schvitzatura August 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I lent a ladder to an LDSer neighbor so he could put up some shelves over the weekend. Should I expect to see the ladder back? I'm not of the momo persuasion, fwiw. Have I been taken in by his gentle, polite demeanor?

I fully expect him to give me a can of hobo beans from his 1-year SHTF Momo Caloric Stockpile, when the economy goes south this fall, as payment in kind to allow him to increase his compound's neatly-ordered storage capacity.

ph7 August 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

It's only coincidence when an investment that does well for Mitt does well for the guy at the other end of the deal. In fact, if probably pisses Mitt off – to him, it means he left something on the table.

elviouslyqueer August 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Mr. Jolly, 76, laughed when told that Mr. Romney was still collecting mortgage payments on one of the houses he talked him into buying 30 years ago. “That sounds like Mitt,” he said. “He never gives up.”

You laugh, Mr. Jolly, but I double-dog dare you to miss ONE. SINGLE. PAYMENT.

widestanceromance August 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

What bank would give Willard a loan? He hasn't had a job in years, and has only applied for the same one 3 or 4 times in the last 7 or so years.

mrblifil August 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I think we're supposed to come away from the article thinking Mitt gave away a house as a gift because he's charitable. Also it is carefully pointed out that the people "took care of the property" just in case we're worried that the largeness of Mitt's heart might have led him to doing something nice for the niggers.

TootsStansbury August 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I hope the appraiser doesn't smell a rat, likes the shady trees on the property, notices the heat works so the olds don't have to wear fleece around the house .

mr bojangles August 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

according to harry reid this convoluted scheme is the reason mitt has never paid taxes!

mlle_derp August 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

"The Torah says to do your good deeds in secret."

Finally we understand why Mitt won't release his tax returns!

Monsieur_Grumpe August 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I'm here to help you anyway I can but first, what's in it for me?

Exhausted66 August 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I'm beginning to think that Mitt Romney is a bit of a douche bag.

freakishlywrong August 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

You're late to the party.

JustPixelz August 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Give Mitt a break. He spent almost 1% of his pocket lint this act of selfish altruism.

rickmaci August 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

"Andrea Saul, a Romney campaign spokeswoman, declined to answer questions about the Texas investment."

Bwhahahahahahahhaha. I'll be Andrea is keeping her yap shut these days.

NYNYNYjr August 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Hmm. Yeah. WHat the hell? And he's going to keep collecting for how long? So where did the guy mentioned above get 13% interest rate?

Chet Kincaid_ August 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Just skimming this story, but are you saying that Mitt bought the North Pole, charged Santa rent, and then sold "Mr. and Mrs. Jolly" their house back?! That cold-hearted bastard.

actor212 August 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Written by Judith Miller under a nom de plume

proudgrampa August 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I don't understand real estate.

chicken_thief August 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Then Mitt has got a sweeeeet deal for you!

Calapine August 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for counting me as part of the elite! *feels good about self*
THAT's how you keep readers!

pdiddycornchips August 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

"So Romney bought some rent-to-own houses, one for each son, as an investment."

RMoney needs to teach those kids how to make a decent living off the backs of the poors.
How else will they learn? If all they have to go by is his rhetoric, they might think the children of wealth are expected to do actual work.

DahBoner August 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

"Mitt Romney seems to have really taken the stricture to heart"

As much as I would like to put a 'stricture' in Romney's heart, you're almost implying here that Mormons are "real" Christians?

Franknflower August 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/09/opinion/salam-romne

Mitt playes with his corn. What the heck is this thing for?

Biff August 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm

The current "woman I am hoping to bone" is living in a similar housing situation. I sure can pick 'em.

mosjef August 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Jimmy Hoffa is buried in the basement.

ttommyunger August 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm

And considering that John Negroponte handles payment collections, you really don't want to be late.

drstrabismus August 12, 2012 at 10:50 am

"Stricture"? I'm not sure that means what you think it means.

chicken_thief August 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Well, at least Rafalca makes her feel good.

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