What the Court giveth with one hand, it taketh away with the other. Celebrated women’s rights lawyer, Gloria Allred, succeeded in getting the Norfolk Probate and Family Court in Canton, MA to unseal potentially damaging testimony from Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, concerning a friend and former client’s high-profile divorce case back in 1990.
Unfortunately, Allred’s client, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, won’t be able to shed any light on the subject because the judge also left her gag order in place. According to the Callum Borcher’s article for The Boston Globe, the court ruled that Allred needs to file a separate motion in order to have the gag order removed, and Allred intends to do so.
Allred represents Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, the ex-wife of former Romney/Bain Capital client and Staples CEO Tom Stemburg. In 1990, Sullivan Stemburg filed a request to amend the financial agreement from her 1989 divorce from Stemburg to reflect his (greatly) increased net worth after Staples went public the same year. According to their 1999 press release, Staples had earned a 2600% return on investment during its first decade, with “a five year (FY94 to FY98) compounded annual earnings per share growth of 33 percent.”
According to Laura Gottesdiener’s report in Alternet, Allred has accused Romney of deliberately deceiving the court about Staples’ worth, so Stemburg — a client and close friend — wouldn’t have to share his over-sized profits with his ex wife. (Note: Romney and his former company, Bain Capital also made a pile of money from Staples)
In the testimony, however, Romney allegedly lied about the future of the company, saying it was “overvalued” and that Stemberg was a “dreamer” for thinking the company could grow large. As a result, Maureen received very little in the divorce settlement–only to learn that her husband and his cohort Mitt Romney quickly turned around and cashed in their own stocks in Staples for a small fortune right after the divorce was finalized.
According to Borcher’s article:
The [Boston] Globe filed a motion on Oct. 15 to unseal Romney’s testimony, which was impounded along with all other case files from the Stembergs’ 10-year legal battle. Parties in the case also signed a confidentiality agreement that Gloria Allred, the attorney for Sullivan Stemberg, called “the most comprehensive gag order I have ever seen in my 36 years of practicing law.”