- Forbes Magazine has accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of inflating his net worth, saying the bankruptcy financier is wealthy, but not a billionaire.
- Forbes says Ross repeatedly lied and misled the magazine about his net worth for more than a decade, both to pad his ego and to help land business opportunities.
- Forbes reports the deception started to unravel after he accepted the position in President Donald Trump’s cabinet, requiring Ross to disclose his financial assets and revealing inconsistencies with what he’d been telling the magazine for years.
- Ex-employees of Ross’ private equity firm claim that he has for years been lying to the magazine, investors, and colleagues.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross isn’t a billionaire — and it’s possible he never was, according to a bombshell report by Dan Alexander in Forbes Magazine.
Ross has come under fire recently for leaving $US2 billion he told Forbes he owned off of his financial disclosure forms when he joined President Donald Trump’s administration after the election. Senate Democrats have called for an investigation into the missing billions.
Forbes, which bumped Ross from its annual Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans last month with a far lower net worth of $US700 million, conducted an investigation of its own and believes it has solved the mystery (emphasis added):
“That money never existed. It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004. In addition to just padding his ego, Ross’ machinations helped bolster his standing in a way that translated into business opportunities.”
Forbes conducted interviews with 10 former employees from Ross’ private equity firm WL Ross & Co., and reported that Ross has for decades lied to not just the magazine, but also investors, colleagues, and employees.
Forbes said it sent questions to Ross and the Commerce Department. This was their response, according to Forbes:
“Secretary Ross has filed all required disclosures in accordance with the law and in consultation with both legal counsel and ethics officials at the Department of Commerce and Office of Government Ethics. As we have said before, any misunderstanding from your previous conversation with Secretary Ross is unfortunate.”