Despite Ethics Allegations, Wilbur Ross's Cabinet Job Seems Safe

August 8, 2018

By Amanda Weston

Allegations that Wilbur Ross stole $120 million from colleagues may not be enough to force Ross, the Secretary of Commerce, to lose his job, said the Forbes reporter Dan Alexander.

"Ethical issues haven't bounced people quickly in the past, and I think that Wilbur Ross really likes being in the cabinet," Alexander said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar. "I don't see him as somebody who's likely to step down because of embarrassment or anything like that. So we'll sort of see how it plays out."

Alexander's article, published Tuesday by Forbes, includes accusations made by Ross's colleagues at WL Ross & Co., including one who describe him as "a pathological liar." Alexander wrote that if half of the allegations are true, Ross could be one of the biggest grifters in U.S. history. (More than 280,000 people have read the Forbes article on its website.)

"This is the former No. 2 person in Wilbur Ross's firm saying that he stole about $4 million from him, another high-ranking employee saying that he stole $3.6 million, and then a lot of it is more complex, siphoning funds from investors or from other partners," said Alexander. "Total it all up and you get to over $120 million. That's a tremendous amount of money for anyone, but particularly for somebody like Wilbur Ross who said he was a billionaire ー and is not."

A Commerce Department spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that the accusations against Ross are,"based on false rumors, innuendo, and unverifiable claims."

Alexander relied on information from more than 20 people who know Ross, and details from four lawsuits, including one by David Storper, who worked under Ross for more than a decade. Had senators known about the allegations against Ross, Alexander said his confirmation hearing for Commerce Secretary may have gone differently.

As a member of the president's cabinet, Ross has to file financial disclosure forms detailing what he owns. Alexander said that past disclosures were "embarrassing" because they showed how Ross made misleading statements about his wealth.

When asked whether any of his sources had no complaints to issue about Ross, Alexander had a simple response.

"There was nobody who was willing to go on the record saying Wilbur Ross is a tremendous guy."

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