Thanks to dogged political reporter Lynn Bartels of The Denver Post for popping GOP Congressional candidate Joe Coors with the question he refused to answer for me. (Click here to watch the Congressional debate where this little drama unfolded.)
As I’ve reported in past columns, the brewery scion invested $40 million in 2004 in a financial scheme that promised a 75% return per week. Yes, PER WEEK!
The numbers should have set off as much of an alarm as a pitch to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. But instead Mr. Coors must have been salivating like a teenager watching the hot babes in one of his family’s beer commercials.
He and a business partner set up an account at Merrill Lynch and gave a couple of crooks access to tap it for just about anything they wanted, from fancy cars to cosmetic surgery. Now he’s running for Congress as a “commonsense” businessman.
Click here to read the columns I’ve written about Mr. Coors’s really bad deal. The story is very difficult to believe, yet it’s all in the records of a federal courthouse in Denver.
Watching the debate, moderated by Ms. Bartels and 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman, I can see why Mr. Coors declined an interview with me.
He can’t really answer the questions this debacle raises.
Ms. Bartels popped it off as the first question in the debate. Mr. Coors’ opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, got in his shots, as well. But Mr. Coors deflected, predictably complaining about the Democrats’ Solyndra debacle, as if that were equally stupid move on Mr. Perlmutters’ part. Mr. Coors also blamed his family. Then he boasted that he helped put the perpetrators behind bars.
He did not mention that it was his broker at Merrill Lynch who noticed this obvious fraud, froze his account, and notified regulators, according to court records. Nor does Mr. Coors mention that he sued Merrill Lynch for not stopping the fraud sooner. The fraud that he stepped into himself.
Merrill Lynch caught the fraud after the crooks had only withdrawn about $4 million, saving about $36 million that could have vanished in a Ponzi shopping spree.
Clearly it’s an old and painful memory. And it’s not much fun to dredge it up. But when someone is running as a “commonsense” businessman for Congress, they better have enough commonsense to back it up.