Allred’s allegations about the GOP candidate are potentially damaging because they could hurt him with women voters, who are crucial to his campaign’s success.
Former Staples CEO Tom Stemberg, who is one of Romney’s biggest presidential campaign backers, was involved in a nasty divorce with wife Maureen Sullivan Stemberg. Romney was called to testify on his behalf about the valuation of his Staples stock.
Romney was head of Bain Capital at the time Stemberg launched the office supplies chain and provided $2.5 million to help get the business started. The two have been fast friends since. Stemberg spoke on Romney’s behalf at the Republican National Convention over the summer.
Allred, who represents Maureen Stemberg, alleges that Romney’s testimony was key to her eventual divorce settlement, which left her short of funds and without health insurance, according to TMZ.
Maureen claims Romney intentionally undervalued the company to slash her divorce settlement. He allegedly claimed the company’s stock was “overvalued” and was pessimistic about the company’s future. At the time the company was still privately held, so valuing its stock was tricky.
Ironically, Romney cites Staples as an example of how he created more than 100,000 jobs while at Bain Capital, a venture capital firm. Staples employs about 90,000 workers today, but most jobs are minimum wage and workers do not have company-sponsored health insurance.
Under “Obamacare,” which Romney declares he will veto as soon as he takes office, successful companies like Staples would be required to provide health insurance for its employees.
Maureen says she lost her home as a result of the settlement and was suffering from MS and cancer when Stamberg cut off her health insurance. At the Time, Stemberg was Romney’s chief advisor on health care while Romney served as Massachusetts governor.
Stemberg and Bain took the the Staples office supply chain public in 1989 and cashed out with a hefty profit. Bain reportedly made $13 million on the deal.
Allred was expected to appear in Norfolk Probate and Family Court in Canton, Mass., today on behalf of Maureen to unseal court records that could prove her allegations. The Boston Globe is also petitioning to open the files.