8 Signs Meg Whitman May Lack a Human Heart
Meg Whitman has always wanted to be Number One in her field. So although it must rankle Whitman that her $1.3 billion in wealth only ranks her as the fourth richest woman in California, when it comes to ranking “The Most Tight-Fisted Billionaire In The West,” no one comes close to Meg. For all her rosy campaign rhetoric about wanting to help California, unlike most billionaires in her category who go out of their way to make highly public donations to charities and the arts, Whitman has yet to perform a single significant charitable deed for the Golden State, or any state for that matter.
"[C]ompared with other leading Silicon Valley and political figures, Whitman appears to have otherwise invested less time, energy and clout on causes at the state, local and national level," the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2010. "In contrast to others who have aspired to political office, however, Whitman does not mention any work on commissions, boards, advisory groups, charities or causes in her book or on her Web site.”
The reason she doesn’t mention them, of course, is because Whitman doesn’t work on any commissions, boards, advisory groups, charities or causes that would endear her to anyone but her billionaire peers.
Whitman’s stinginess is rather shocking even by the tight-fisted standards of her Republican comrades. Take for example Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: He has long been involved in promoting children's fitness, Special Olympics, and he donates his governor’s salary of $175,000 to charities. Gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, who competed against Whitman for the Republican nomination, has a long history of engagement in California’s education issues. Even U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has been a champion of women's economic development in the Third World.
Even with the philanthropy bar set that low, it was still too much for a silver-spoon-fed tightwad like Whitman. What is so strange about this is that even the most rapacious plutocrats and robber barons in American history have made a big show of donating a great part of their riches back to the nation that made it all possible -- even they had a tiny flicker of humanity left in them. No ol’ Meg Whitman. For the Long Island carpetbagger, “charity” means transfering $150 million of wealth she’d soaked out of eBay and plunking it down on advertising agencies to buy herself the governorship of California. You see this sort of thing in corrupt Third World semi-dictatorships like Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan -- the homeland of Borat -- but California? When did California get so pathetic that it’s going to be led by very same sort of corrupt, carpetbagger- oligarch that Borat would proudly support in Kazakhstan?
Hell, Meg even has a Borat son named Griffin, who’s been accused of rape, racism, and violence -- and just like a Kazakh oligarch, Meg Whitman bought her son’s way into Princeton by “donating” $30 million just when Griff was applying to school there. That $30 million so graciously donated to Princeton -- which, you know, when all’s said and done, no one in American needed that $30 million like the desperate Slumdog Millionaires of Princeton -- and that $30 million went to constructing a brand new 500-student dormitory at Princeton named after Whitman. See, she kinda had to do that because he had already been booted out of two expensive prep schools as a kid. You know, what would Meg have done with a son like that if she hadn’t soaked eBay of $1.3 billion? And guess what? Wouldn’tchaknowit, her son Griff just happened to get accepted into Princeton! So don’t say that all that wealth Meg accumulated hasn’t been put to the best use for all of society! Sure, her son Griff still got investigated by Princeton after being accused of rape and racism, and for his generally violent spoiled behavior -- but hey, in a way that sort of makes Griff a lot like Borat, but when Borat behaves like a racist rapist everyone thinks it’s funny, why don’t you think it’s funny when Griff breaks a Latino girl’s ankle or gets accused of rape? It’s funny, isn’t it?
Yeah. Hilarious. It’s as if Meg Whitman is writing the Borat sequel, with Orange County Californians playing the comic foils: “Borat 2: Republican Leanings of Orange Kountystan Make For Benefit Glorious Billionaire Meg Whitman”
Meg’s other big donation that her supporters point to came in 2007, when she gave $1.15 million to a Colorado non-profit. So far, so philanthropy-ish, right? Well, ahem, not exactly -- that money was actually used to preserve a chunk of pristine land in Telluride, Colorado, from being developed into a housing community. Not because Meg hates development -- she just doesn’t want someone else’s development plans intruding on her own real estate investments. So yeah, not exactly philanthropy in the strictest sense of the word, as the “gift” was not so much geared towards protecting natural habitat, as it was towards protecting Whitman's real estate investment, a $20-million nearby ranch that would have lost its value had the development gone through. Thanks to Whitman’s “donation,” her real estate investments were protected. As Borat would say, “I like very much, yes?”
The following are 8 episodes that reveal Meg Whitman's inhuman side:
1. MEG WHITMAN BUYS VOTES AND THINK SHE'S PERFORMING CHARITY
There is one cause that Meg Whitman eagerly supports: her own campaign. As of October 25, Whitman had contributed $40 million to her own campaign, shattering the historic record for personal spending by a candidate previously held at $109 million by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Not only was Meg outspending Jerry Brown by more than 10 to 1, but 85% of her campaign funds coming out of her own pocket. Yet despite dishing a record breaking sum of personal cash, Whitman still continues to trail Jerry Brown in the polls with less than 45% of the vote--buying her popularity was obviously not easy or cheap.
Most would see her campaign contributions for what they really are: an attempt to buy votes--and an election--by brute force, but Whitman see it differently. To her, this is charity work. "The reason I invested my own money into this is because I think we can make California much stronger, and I think we can revive the California Dream for every single Californian," she said during the October debate with Jerry Brown. That's right, Meg Whitman thinks she's doing California a favor by strong-arming voters with lies and a relentless PR campaign.
No wonder Meg Whitman had not registered to vote for 28 years? Why would she? Servants vote; oligarchs like her buy the vote.
2. MEG WHITMAN'S CHINESE PARTNERS THINK SHE HAS HORRIBLE BUSINESS SKILLS
After 2002, Whitman spending habits increased in scope and uselessness. She declared China to be eBay’s top priority, a crucial market for the company’s longterm success. She sunk $300 million into a Chinese auction site and moved to the country with her top executives to plot eBay's invasion. But the plans came crashing down in 2004, after eBay migrated its Chinese auction servers to America and got their traffic tangled up in China’s “great firewall" and cut off from Chinese users, dooming eBay’s China project. eBay's commie partners blamed the failure on the unwieldily bureaucracy and red tape in Whitman's eBay. One Chinese partner called Whitman’s plan “a great vision, but a terrible business strategy.” That’s right, even Chinese communists think Meg has horrible business skills.
She was an incredible failure -- and she knew it. After her Chinese expansion plans tanked, she even started looking for another job. "In December 2004, eBay stock hit its historic high, but as word leaked about eBay’s China troubles, the stock began its decline," wrote the Bay Citizen in 2010. "Whitman began considering other employment. She interviewed at Disney to replace retiring CEO Michael Eisner, but withdrew just before the job was given to Disney executive Bob Iger in March 2005."
3. SHE TAXED EBAY USERS TO THE POINT OF CHASING THEM AWAY
As the second half of Whitman's career at eBay showed, taking money from other people who actually earned it and wasting it, is really the only thing that she is good at.
As Whitman's business ventures failed to generate revenue, she increasingly began to rely on eBay’s merchant community to keep bailing her out. User fees have been central to eBay’s business model and remain as the company’s main source of revenue. Essentially a corporate
tax levied by eBay on its online merchant for the auction services it provides, the fees have remained constant at around 5% from before eBay went public. By 2004, Whitman had had jacked up fees by more than 50% percent, to the point of wiping out profit margins for some sellers, especially smaller mom and pop merchant operations.
Sellers began to protest and attempted stage sporadic boycotts. The Professional eBay Seller's Alliance, a group composed of 600 of eBay's largest sellers that accounted for over $1 billion in annual eBay sales, sent eBay a statement in 2005 saying that the fee increases amounted to a wealth transfer from sellers and buyers to eBay, and warned the company that it risked losing its core merchants for good. Some 7,000 eBay stores were believed to have shut down because of the increases in fees, with many merchants moving over to eBay’s biggest competitor, Amazon. But she kept tightening the screws, sucking the last juices out of eBay's merchants with more fee hiked. By 2007, eBay was a shell of its former self. Most of its top-earning sellers had left for other platforms. Whitman’s exploitation became so extreme that even Wall Street advised her to tone it down. A 2007 Bear Sterns report advised Whitman to carry out a “drastic” reduction in fees in order to stem the mass exodus of eBay sellers to Amazon. But it was too late.
"EBay has gone from the channel of first resort to the channel of last resort," a Internet sales consultant told the New York Times in 2007, right before Whitman left the company.
4. WASTEFUL SPENDING
For someone who has made fiscal responsibility the core of her campaign, promising to wage a war on wasteful spending and bloated budgets, Whitman has shown no regret and taken no responsibility for squandering shareholders' wealth.
In 2002, the same year she was slapped with shareholder lawsuit and targeted in high profile Congressional probe, Whitman lost $1 billion on eBay’s purchase of PayPal. How? By rejecting a an offer to buy the online payment company for $500 million in 2001, then changing her mind a year later and buyingit $1.5 billion. “I will tell you, I don’t think I’m a very good negotiator,” Whitman joked about her billion dollar blooper a few years later during a speech at Stanford Univ.
No biggie for Whitman. It's not like it was her money. After all, why should she be accountable when she could continue charging up the eBay credit card and foot someone else with the bill--which she did.
That same year, Whitman got eBay's shareholder suckers to buy a $30-million corporate jet for their beloved CEO--a top of the line French three-engine craft with a carrying capacity of 19 and the longest flight range in its class, as well $3 million in annual upkeep fees. She then proceeded to rack up a $3.2 million bill jetting around the world over the next five years, spending nearly four times more than all of eBay’s executives combined. In 2005, the same year she lost over $1 billion on eBay's acquisition of Skype, Whitman decided she needed a new corporate jet... In 2006, when eBay was losing revenue, shedding users and its stock price still sliding with no sign of hitting bottom, Meg Whitman ran up over $1 million in corp jet costs. Rubbing shoulders with Hank Paulson on Goldman’s board must have convinced Meg Whitman that flying commercial with common business types was now below her station.
5. WANTS TO SCRAP WELFARE IN CALIFORNIA
Whitman sees nothing wrong when people like her squander and steal billions of other people's money as corporate executives, milking shareholder wealth for personal jets, multimillion dollar compensation packages and insider access, even as they run companies into the ground. But she just can't stand when poor people draw a few hundred dollars a month so they could feed and clothe their children. Why? Well, because despite the fact that California's welfare program pays out a meager $1192--with half of that in food stamps--Whitman is convinced that welfare recipients are all engaging in fraud and bankrupting the state.
And that's why one of Whitman's biggest economic plans for California is to shutdown its $1.6 billion welfare program, and transfer its funds to state universities in order to plug a massive hole created by her Wall Street buddies....
6. TAUGHT HER SONS TO BE AS VENAL AND CRUDE AS SHE IS
Meg Whitman's children have grown up to be fine oligarchs in the mold of their mom: entitled, disdainful, rude, obnoxious, violent... They give an uncensored look at what Meg Whitman stands for. And that is precisely why Whitman keeps them out of the public eye.
Take her oldest son, 25-year-old Griffith Harsh V. Admitted to Princeton on the heels of Whitman's $30 million donation, Gruf was constantly being bailed out by his billionaire mommy. ... The school decided not to punish Grif when he was accused of raping and savagely beating a female classmate in 2006. Just weeks after the Princeton let Grif off scott free, he was arrasted on felony battery charges for breaking a 22-year-old woman’s ankle in a Palo Alto bar near Stanford University. After nine court dates, the case was mysteriously dismissed. Case closed. Oligarch justice prevailed.
After graduation, Grif tapped mommy's connection to Mitt Romney—she served as finance chair on his 2008 presidential campaign—for a job with Solamere Capital LLC, a private-equity firm founded by Mitt Romney's son, Tagg. To return the favor, Meg Whitman has used her campaign to funneled money to Solamere, spending $96,000 with Solamere in four months.
7. TREATS EMPLOYEES LIKE PERSONAL SLAVES
In June 2007, while being preparing for an interview with Reuters, Whitman became frustrated and shoved her employee. "In any high-pressure working environment, tensions can surface," said Whitman. Why did she get frustrated? Because she felt unprepared for the interview--and proceeded to take it out a female employee of small stature, shoving and cussing her out. To keep the whole thing under wraps, the woman agreed to take a six figure payout (paid not by Whitman, but by her company's shareholders) Paying for her mistakes with other people's money--that typical Whitman for you.
Whitman bullied her workers at home, as well. Jill Armstrong, who worked full time for the Whitman household in 1998 as a nanny, said she quit after about two months because of the demands and difficulties of the job. "I had enough," she said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Why? The nanny said she experienced "challenges" in dealing with Whitman's two young rapists-in-training sons. But mostly it was because Whitman was a greedy, untrustworthy employer, who tried to cheat Armstrong out of her wages.
8. HAS TRACK RECORD OF ABUSING POSITION OF POWER FOR PERSONAL PROFIT
Just four years after Meg Whitman started as eBay's CEO, a Congressional probe, as well as a shareholders lawsuit filed against Whitman, revealed that she used her position as CEO to set up a crony kickback network, steering lucrative corporate eBay business to select Wall Street investment banks. While there were no convictions, it was clear that Whitman had violated her fiduciary responsibilities to eBay shareholders for personal profit:
Meg Whitman hired Goldman Sachs to underwrite eBay's $72.5 million IPO in 1998, as well as a second offering worth $1.25 billion held a year later. In return, Goldman Sachs put Whitman on an insider tack that let her buy shares in 100 different IPOs at rock bottom prices--which Goldman Sachs purposefully set low--before they were opened to the public, allowing her to make millions in a matter of hours simply by flipping her shares. Industry insiders called the practice “spinning”--but everyone knew that it was nothing but a good ol’ fashioned kickback. On top of her access to quick and guaranteed profits, Whitman got a spot on Goldman's hallowed board of directors in 2001. The position came with voting rights and a nearly $500,000 salary--meaning that she was paid $40,000 for every board meeting she attended, including the one where she voted in favor of awarding multi-million dollar bonuses to to Henry Paulson and then-vice chairman Lloyd Blankfein for their job well done. A Republican Representative from Ohio who investigated the corruption as chair of the House Financial Services Committee in 2002, said it was clear that Goldman Sachs was “making IPO shares available to those with investment banking business to offer” and that executives took the IPOs as “an inducement or reward.” Whitman was singled out along with 20 other executives, including Enron’s master scammer Kenneth Lay, and spinning has since been outlawed.
The congressional probe into Whitman's backspinning spree spawned a eBay shareholder lawsuit against Meg Whitman and a few other eBay executives for violating their fiduciary duty to eBay shareholders, and charged that the executives were aided and abetted by Goldman Sachs. Whitman denied any wrong doing, of course, and in the end settled for a pitiful $1.78 million, without having to admit guilt--as has become the American custom when sleazy billionaires are caught breaking the law.