Pancake-Flipping Billionaire Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross

This is an excerpt from the 2018 Steve Dustcircle book, Trump’s Cabinet: The Rise of Each Appointed Deplorable, available in ebook and paperback from The book contains links to multiple references and citations.


The Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor was once one agency, but were separated in 1913, over a hundred years ago. The job of the Commerce agency head is help “foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce.”

Nominated and confirmed for this position in the 2017 Donald Trump Administration is Wilbur Ross, who replaces Democratic Illinois billionaire, Penny Pritzker.

Ross is the son of a lawyer and a teacher and has been married three times (two divorces). He has two daughters and two step-sons.

From 1995–1998, he was married to then Lt. Governor of New York of whom he pledged $2.25 million to her campaign to defeat Governor George Pataki. Two months later, Wilbur Ross pulled his pledge and filed for divorce.

Ross earned his bachelor’s degree at Yale University and his MBA at Harvard Business School. His first summer job was on Wall Street from which he acquired with the help of a faculty adviser.

Until 2016, Ross was registered as a Democrat. However, he’s been donating money to Republican candidates and organizations since around 2011.

This 79 year old Wilbur Ross is worth two and a half billion dollars and is the founder of Invesco (1997).

The Bottom-feeder (“distressed asset investor”) is known as the “King of Bankruptcy,” as he is known to buy out companies in financial trouble, reorganize them, and sell them off at a profit once they appear to be profitable and stable. The companies usually had to do with steel, coal, textiles and finance.

In January 2006, a West Virginia mine collapsed after executives of the mine knew about the dangers. They had been cited over 200 times the previous year for safety infractions. Twelve of the thirteen miners died and the mine owner downplayed responsibility. The owner? Wilbur Ross.

Though a Democrat in the 1980s, we have to remember he was still a rich man. This means, he had rich friends, and he also helped them out in times of trouble. Donald Trump had three failing casinos in Atlantic City, NJ, and Ross was one of the people who bailed him out. With Carl Icahn’s help, Ross was able to convince bondholders to let Trump keep control of the casinos.

During this time, Ross was a privatization adviser to Republican Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, and helped get empty, foreclosed lots into the claws of salivating businesses.

After this, in the 1990s, Ross formed WL Ross & Co., a business to essentially buy failing companies, restructure them, cut off the fat (like good wages for the workers), and sell them at a profit. The business was acquired by now-known-as Invesco in 2006. He loves junk bonds.

Ten years later, Ross was forced by SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) probe to reimburse overcharged investors almost $12 million. WL Ross & Co. admitted to no liability in the investor damages.

In 2007, Ross bought the rights for day-to-day operations with the rescued American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. (AHMSI), the second-largest subprime loan provider in America.

The company since then has changed its name to Homeward Residential and got bought out by Ocwen, after AHMSI lost a $95 million lawsuit in federal court for outsourcing foreclosure fraud. In 2013, Ocwen was fined ($2.1 billion) when Ross was on its board.

As Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross has agreed to give up control of many of his business ventures, but made it explicit that there is one he will not let go of: Diamond S Shipping, a company that recently acquired a portion of a Russian oil company. He promises to be a “passive investor.” This can be possibly in conflict with the interest statute, not to mention issues with charters and embargoes.

This is interesting because Trump strenuously rallied against foreign businesses and their goods and services, Diamond S Shipping has 32 of its 45 tankers registered in Hong Kong. The rest hail from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean and in Malta (Europe).

These foreign-flagged company registrations ensure that you don’t have to pay or treat the workers according to American ethics and morale. The cargo tankers also have visited Iran with whom the U.S. has sanctions against.

And as much as President Trump tough-talked against China during his campaign, his getting cozy with Ross is interesting since Ross seems to have an interest additionally with China and Japan. In 2015, Ross was awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun medal for strengthening Japanese and American bonds in business.

Ross is a self-professed art collector. His collection is rumored to be worth upwards of $150 million.

The best thing about Ross is that he says he’s for the middle and lower class people, and supports immigrant rights, especially if they’re educated. Presumably, the undocumented worker he employed in his home for years wasn’t educated enough — Ross fired this person when nominated for the Trump Cabinet.

Finally, a quote from Wilbur Ross:

I am not anti-trade. I am pro-trade, but I am pro-sensible trade, not trade that is to the disadvantage of the American worker and to the American manufacturing community.

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