In 2002 Mitt Romney decided that he had retired from Bain in 1999.
Yes, you read that correctly. When Mitt Romney took over the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999, he intended to come back and run Bain Capital full-time afterwards--and he wanted to make sure that everybody at Bain Capital knew that he was still the boss, that he would be coming back full-time, that nobody should try to take his seat while he was in Salt Lake City, and that everybody should be careful to make sure that their actions were things Romney approved of.
Come 2002, Mitt Romney decided that he was going to run for Governor of Massachusetts. So come 2002 Romney decides that he had retired from Bain Capital back in 1999. Yes. As Glenn Kessler says: "when Romney decided to run for governor in 2002, he received a retirement package that was dated Feb., 1999".
Now comes Glenn Kessler. What Glenn Kessler should be saying today is:
Back in January, Mitt Romney's people convinced me: (a) that Romney retired from Bain in February 1999, (b) that afterwards he was merely a passive investors, and (c ) that Romney bears no responsibility--credit or blame--for any Bain business decisions after February 1999. They snookered me. The situation is much more complicated. From February 1999 to 2002, Romney was focused on the Salt Lake City Olympics, and his subordinates at Bain Capital in Massachusetts were expecting him to return full-time and so were anxious to make decisions he approved.
Would that be so hard?
But for a Washington Post reporter to admit error is an extremely rare thing. Much better, Glenn Kessler thinks, for him to double down and hope to brazen things out.
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Mitt Romney and his departure from Bain: If Romney left Bain in February 1999… business deals that went sour (such as KB Toys) can’t be counted as part of Romney’s tenure. If he actually left in 2002… those deals are fair game…. Thought we had settled it…. [I]t really feels like Groundhog Day….
The Fact Checker, July 2, 2012: Romney left the helm of Bain Capital when he took a leave of absence in 1999… [he] never returned to active management…. We have never disputed that Romney remained the owner of Bain while he was running the Olympics committee. The issue always has been, who was running Bain?…
Remember, Romney did not leave Bain Capital as part of a long-term, planned succession process. Instead, his departure was fairly sudden…. Bain Capital hadn’t worked out all the details of Romney’s departure…. [U]nwinding a private equity firm’s ownership structure is extremely complicated…. Bain saw no reason to expend massive administrative effort to amend existing funds. Instead, it asked Romney to sign documents when necessary…. The part about lying to the SEC is absurd, since the SEC doesn’t require an owner to be the operational decision-maker…
Do Bain SEC documents suggest Mitt Romney is a criminal?: [W]e are standing with our assessment that Mitt Romney left the helm of Bain Capital in 1999…. [L]anguage saying Romney was “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” was boilerplate… no standard definition of a “chief executive”… no requirement for anyone to have any responsibilities even if they have that title.…
Romney’s sudden departure from Bain had left the partnership in flux… final resolution was not reached until he ended his Olympic sojourn [in 2002] and decided to run for governor. At that point, he signed retirement papers that set his departure date as February 1999, the month he left for the Olympics….
However, we have identified at least six filings that Romney did sign during this period…. These few filings may just represent the winding down of affairs. Or some might think there is something more nerfarious going on. But, remember, when Romney decided to run for governor in 2002, he received a retirement package that was dated Feb., 1999….
We readily admit that there is grey area about Romney’s involvement with Bain in the 1999-2002 period, because his future post-Olympics role had not been settled and the future of Bain Capital was in flux…