Perjury time, anybody?
Mitt Romney vouched for low price on Staples stock that traded 10 times higher a year later: CANTON, Mass. — Mitt Romney testified under oath in 1991 that the ex-wife of Staples founder Tom Stemberg got a fair deal in the couple’s 1988 divorce, even though the company shares Maureen Sullivan Stemberg received were valued at a tenth of Staples’ stock price on the day of its initial public offering only a year later.>At the time the Stembergs split, Romney suggested, there was little indication that Staples’ value would soon skyrocket.
Romney’s testimony in a post-divorce lawsuit brought in 1990 by Sullivan Stemberg was unsealed on Thursday in Norfolk Probate and Family Court at the Globe’s request. Sullivan Stemberg sued unsuccessfully to amend the couple’s financial agreement after Staples went public in 1989 and closed its first day of trading at $22.50 per share, 10 times the value she had received.
Stemberg left his wife in February 1987, and the divorce was finalized in July 1988. Before the official split, the couple negotiated an agreement in which Sullivan Stemberg got 500,000 shares of Staples stock, which Stemberg valued at $2.25 per share…. But on April 28, 1989, barely a year after Sullivan Stemberg sold more than half of her shares on the premise that they were worth less than $2.50 apiece, the company made its initial public offering at $19 per share and ended its first day at $22.50….
“The Globe’s only interest all along, as should have been clear to all parties, was to obtain the transcript of a presidential candidate’s testimony,” Globe editor Martin Baron said in a statement. “We wanted to read it to see what was there, following standard practice in covering a major election, and we are pleased that the court recognized the great public interest in Governor Romney’s testimony. If it became possible to obtain the transcript without lifting a gag order, we had no reason to object. The gag order is a matter for others to litigate, if they wish to do so.”