Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) husband, Rich Blum, is projected to earn nearly $1 billion in commission from the sale of US Postal Service buildings his company bought throughout the country, AlterNet reported.
When C.B. Richard Ellis (CBRE), the company of which Blum is the chair, got “an exclusive contract to market the USPS facilities — as part of a larger federal effort to reduce the deficit,” Feinstein said she had no influence over the company, and said there was no conflict of interest.
However, the USPS Inspector General “issued a report saying the contract was not how it previously sold properties” and noted that the deal probably wouldn’t actually reduce USPS costs.
And in 2013, it was found that CBRE was selling properties below market value.
“CBRE has been paid commissions as high as six percent by the Postal Service for representing both the seller and the buyer in many of the negotiations,” reported the East Bay Express, “thereby raising serious questions to whether CBRE was doing it best to obtain the highest price possible for the Postal Service.”
Now, CBRE could make profits nearing $1 billion “in commissions from the sale of 56 buildings across the country that are expected to yield upwards of $19 billion,” AlterNet reported.
But the profit margin here isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that the deal was allowed to happen in the first place. The spouse of a high-ranking government official got an exclusive type of contract that no other company had ever gotten before.
It can’t be a coincidence.
It’s just another example of politicians using their positions, both in the government and the private sector, to work out deals that only benefit their pocketbooks.