As Mother Jones reported yesterday, speaking at a private fundraiser in Florida this May, Mitt Romney expressed his disdain for “the 47 percent” of Americans who are “dependent upon government,” “believe that they are victims,” and “will vote for the president no matter what.” The event was held at the Boca Raton home of private equity manager Marc Leder, who has donated $225,000 to the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future and $63,330 to the Romney Victory PAC. Employees of his firm, Sun Capital Partners, have given more than $970,000 to the Romney campaign and its related PACs in this election cycle (including donations from spouses).
So who else was on hand for Romney’s “off the cuff” remarks at Leder’s spread on May 17? According to the TC Palm, 150 people attended the $50,000-per-plate event. The guest list hasn’t been made public, but some possible attendees can be picked out of campaign finance records.
A search for Florida-based donors brings up more than 30 people who gave $50,000 to the Romney Victory PAC between May 1 and May 17:
|Dixie Arthur||Accountant||ASAP Capital Partners||Tampa|
|Thomas D. Arthur||Retired||Tampa|
|Robert M. Beall||Chairman||Beall’s Inc||Bradenton|
|Douglas F. Berman||Fund Manager||HIG Capital||Weston|
|Timothy M. Bryan||Chairman & CEO||Galaxe Solutions||Key Biscayne|
|Mitchel A. Burns||Chairman Emeritus||Ryder System||Miami|
|Christopher Cline||Executive||Foresight Management||Palm Beach Gardens|
|Richard A. Corbett||Real Estate Developer||Concorde Companies||Tampa|
|Jeffrey Feingold||CEO||McNa Dental Plans||Delray Beach|
|James P. Gills||Ophthalmologist||St Luke’s Cataract & Laser Institute||Tarpon Springs|
|F. Phillip Handy||CEO||Strategic Industries||Winter Park|
|Michael Hechberger||COO||Infinity Sales Group||Boca Raton|
|Gabe Hoffman||Managing Member Of General Partner||Cardens Capital||Miami Beach|
|Manuel Kadre||Attorney||Manuel Kadre Pa||Coral Gables|
|Jonathan I. Kislak||Venture Capital||Antares Capital||Miami Shores|
|Rafael Kravec||Retired||Bal Harbour|
|Sidney W. Lassen||Business Executive||Sizeler Realty||Palm Beach|
|Lisa J. Leder||Homemaker [Marc Leder’s ex-wife]||Boca Raton|
|E. Barry Mansur||Investments||Mansur Realty||Captiva|
|Henry Mccance||Venture Capital||Greylock Partners||Lake Wales|
|Dr. Roger Medel||Physician||Mednax Inc||Davie|
|Manuel Medina||CEO & President||Medina Capital Partners||Miami|
|Thomas Neff||Chairman||Spencer Stuart||North Palm Beach|
|William D. Perez||Senior Consultant||Greenhill & Co||Naples|
|Randal L. Ringhaver||Chairman & President||Ring Power Corp||Saint Augustine|
|Raul Rodriguez||CEO||Clinical Medical Services||Miami Lakes|
|Brian D. Schwartz||Private Equity||HIG Capital||Fort Lauderdale|
|John H. Sykes||Self-Employed||Sykes Enterprises||Tampa|
|Ellen Teresi||Publishing Executive||Paisano Publications||Fort Lauderdale|
|Joseph Teresi||Publisher/CEO||Paisano Publications||Fort Lauderdale|
|Mrs. Anthony Traviesa||Venture Capital||V3 Partners Llp||Tampa|
|Robert Zangrillo||Founder||Dragon Global Management||Miami Beach|
A broader search for big Florida donors suggests some more contenders. For example, Bill Bain, the retired founder of Bain & Company and Bain Capital, who lives in Naples, gave $50,000 to the Romney campaign PAC on April 25, less than a month before the fundraiser. Might he have driven across the state to hear Romney talk in Boca Raton? Perhaps, but the Leder event was just one of several fundraising events Romney attended in Florida in this time period, including another in Boca the same day.
We’ll update this post as we try to confirm these and any additional names.
Update: The complete transcript of Romney’s remarks provides additional clues about who was there. A few names are mentioned, starting with one “Hilary”:
Romney: And by the way, I am serious about the food. Bring that…clear the place, but Hilary has to eat her beets. [Audience laughs.]
Was this directed at Hilary Ross, a Palm Beach resident who gave $75,800 to the Romney Victory PAC two days before the event? (Her husband Wilbur gave the same amount on the same day and had previously given $50,000 in late April.) Or was it Hillary Krouse, a Boca Raton resident who gave $73,300 two days earlier? She’s the wife of Rodger Krouse, the business partner of the event’s host, Sun Capital Partners chief executive Marc Leder.
The next attendee named in the transcript is “Samantha,” who’s mentioned when an audience member jokes that Romney’s decision to leave his money to his grandchildren has lost her vote. No one named Samantha has given $50,000 to Romney’s campaign PAC. However, Samantha and Kipling Sheppard of Rancho Santa Marga, California, gave a combined $50K four days after the Florida event. It’s also possible, based on the transcript, that Samantha is the daughter of someone in the audience and didn’t buy her own ticket.
An audience member named “George” asked Romney, “To what extent do people really understand that we’re hurtling toward a cliff, and to what extent do people understand the severity of the fiscal situation we’re in. Do people get it?” Five days after the event, the Romney PAC reported receiving $50,000 from George Mattson of Boca Raton, a recently retired Goldman Sachs executive.
The last guest to be named is “Darlene,” who kicked off this exchange with Romney:
Audience member: I was just gonna say, I think a media strategy would be sending Ann on the road. Because she, I think, is your best friend, your best advocate. She connects so well. People talk so much about this connect—and somebody said over there, people think he’s a rich, rich guy. Most of us know that you know that’s—
Romney: You know that I’m as poor as a church mouse. [Audience laughter]
Audience member: We know that you value [unintelligible] and hard work. And Ann really connects with people, and she can tell a story about the hard work and she can tell about the person who [unintelligible] and go on Good Morning America and go on The View and hold her own against these people. And really get you the women connecting to you more. Seeing her and think she’s a great—
Romney: I think you’re right. Absolutely right. We use Ann sparingly right now, so that people don’t tired of her, or start attacking.
Audience member: Who gets tired of Ann?
Could this Ann fan be Darlene Jordan of Palm Beach, who, along with her husband, Gerald, gave $95,800 to the Romney Victory PAC on May 1?
Though it was reported that 150 people were in attendance, the video suggests that it was a smaller affair. Romney opened his comments by noting “the room is intimate,” which may help explain his comfort in speaking his mind.