Mitt Romney "Sucked the Life Blood" Out of Miami Company, Says Disgusted Ex-Employee

Categories: Politicks
lunapic_133711134090068_1.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Cindy Hewitt in front of the Miami lab shut down by Romney's Bain Capital in 1998

When Cindy Hewitt thinks about what happened here at this now-defunct laboratory near the Miami River back in 1998, she shivers with disgust.

She was a human resources manager for a medical company called Dade Behring when Bain Capital began tinkering with its bottom line. Under CEO Mitt Romney, Bain shut down a Behring factory in Puerto Rico and sent some of its technicians to Miami. But less than two months later, Bain shut down the Miami lab as well, firing 850 employees including the Puerto Ricans who had just relocated.

"I feel horrible that I was a part of the group that recruited them," says Hewitt, who quit shortly thereafter. "I was used.... Romney's only concern was how to increase the wealth of key investors."

Hewitt blames Romney for "sucking the life blood" out of the local company in order to make a quick $242 million profit. She says that when Dade Behring shut down in 1998, barely three years after it was purchased by Bain, the closure cost the community $30 million in high-end wages and much more in stability.

"It was heartbreaking for me to see families... abused and taken advantage of so a small group of individuals could get a higher return on their investment," she says.

Romney's Florida office could not be reached for comment.

Hewitt's comments were far from spontaneous, however. Her appearance outside Dade Behring's old factory at 1851 Delaware Parkway -- now "A+ Mini Storage" near the new Marlins Stadium -- was orchestrated by Obama's Florida election campaign.

The event was part of a national effort to paint (or reveal, depending on your perspective) Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist. In an Obama campaign video released yesterday, a steelworker whose factory was closed by Bain calls Romney "a vampire."

Florida is one of the most crucial swing states in this fall's election, with the winner likely becoming the next president. Romney is scheduled to visit St. Petersburg tomorrow, with polls showing him and Obama in a dead heat.

Yet, the Obama campaign is going to have to do better if they want Miamians to remember Romney as a corporate raider. Today's event had more speakers (three) than reporters covering it (two).

Perhaps it was the sparse attendance, but state senator Oscar Braynon and Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner did little more than read press packets we assume were drawn up by the Obama campaign. At one point, Braynon even had to ask Hewitt the name of her old company.

Along with Vice President Joe Biden's vacuous visit to the Everglades two weeks ago, the event was a swing and a miss at what should be a fat pitch sitting over the plate: Romney's long record as a corporate parasite.

Unless the Obama campaign does a better job selling the stories of people like Hewitt, we could see a Romney uber-right-wing administration next year.

For her part, Hewitt has never quite recovered from her experience with Bain Capital. After she quit Dade Behring, she volunteered in animal services for several years. Now she runs her own animal shelter, but still doesn't work full-time.

"It was the only time in my life that I did something horribly unethical," she says about working for Dade Behring after Romney/Bain took over and started firing people. "I didn't want to be a part of a team that was destroying people's lives."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Sir_Elton_Juan
Sir_Elton_Juan

Zzzzzzzz wake me up when you come up with a more clever campaign ad.

Powerrc
Powerrc

Don't worry Solyndra is hiring and backed by the job creating man himself Obama and he has all are money to save it with and no worries of investors!

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

Smear campaign is being laid out. Romney portrayed as a bully in his youth/college days. Now a heartless corporate raider. He is not right for America, amazing how he tries to gain style points for the auto industry bailout he was against, the healthcare reform too. I really thinki that between Obama & Romney, the masses are going to face another 4+ years of misery. Unfortunately these are the 2 choices were getting as usual.

Still alive
Still alive

It sounds like the company lived on and thrived. How else could Roomey make $242 mil?

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

What's the point of this?  Shit happens in the business world.  If a company doesn't make money, they take measures to cut costs.  Nothing new.  Companies close, restructure, and move all the time.

Also, Dade Behring did not shut down in 1998.  Only the Miami operations did.

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

Romney is a Vampire in Mormon Clothing…  under his leadership, Bain gutted companies,sucking them dry and leaving families in shambles without work or a means toprovide for their children.  Is this thetype of leader we want?  Read more aboutthe role of Romney’s riches in this election and the power of his sacredundergarments at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...

anthonyvop
anthonyvop

 "Romney's only concern was how to increase the wealth of key investors."

Hewitt blames Romney for "sucking the life blood" out of the local company in order to make a quick $242 million profit"

I guess she didn't get the Memo.

Let me explain it to her.   Dade Behring existed for only one thing and one thing only.Not to make medical equipmentNot to be a medical labDefinitely not to provide a job to her or anyone one else.

Dade Behring existed to make money.  That is it.   Something that Romney was good at.  A fact that scares the crap out of the Obama supporters,

Now perhaps if she and her former co-workers had been more productive workers maybe she wouldn't be such a bitter, old, tool for the Democrats.

DanielW
DanielW

The Solyndra loan deal was initiated under Bush, and one of Solyndra's chief investors was a partnership created by Wal-Mart heirs, who heavily back Republicans.  The Solyndra loan represented just over 1% of the DOE's loan portfolio, and it was the only company in that portfolio to go belly up.  So I'm not sure what your point is; are you just throwing out buzzwords?

DanielW
DanielW

That's a good question.  Here's what happened.  Romney's Bain purchased Dade (on borrowed money) when Dade was a healthy company and then, though Bain's incredibly poor management decisions, racked up millions of dollars in debt.  Instead of trying to turn the company around, Romney and his colleagues at Bain forced Dade to borrow millions more to buy back the Dade shares from Bain.  This bankrupted Dade, but a handful of investors at Bain walked away with a handsome profit.  They didn't make the money doing anything useful; they just took out loans in Dade's name, kept the money, and left Dade and its employees on the hook for it.

Clear as mud, right?  Well here's an analogy. Imagine if a small group of investors could buy millions of people and take out billions or trillions of dollars in loans in those people's names.  Then the company could pay its small group of investors a ton of money right out of those loans, because it's not responsible for the loans -- those people are.  That's what Bain and Romney did with Dade. 

Now, as we know, the government can and does in fact take out loans that the people are ultimately responsible for.  And we know that Romney is very keen on the idea that "corporations are people," so it stands to reason he'd treat the American people like he treated corporations like Dade -- as his and his cronies own personal piggybank.  So the prospect of a Romney presidency should be pretty scary for American taxpayers in light of Romney's proven business model -- a model based simply on taking out loans in other people's names to reap a big profit for a few wealthy investors.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

At the end of the day, yes, corporate entities exist to earn a profit. But let's face it, they also exist to serve society with products & services, even jobs. There's making a profit and serving the greater good of mankind. Then there's corporate raiding like you indicate. Romney makes no money if the rest of those that work hard to build that business to be a resource of the community. Romney is bad for America, you can justify it all you want, but Enron is another example. There to make investors money, yet devastating lives when abused. And the overcharges are lies and cheats. I mean if everyone knows going in that Romney is there to profit like that, you think anyone invests ? You think anyone supports that business by being a customer ? I certainly wouldn't contract with that type of organization and be a consumer at any level.

Sarahspittsurginfo
Sarahspittsurginfo

the fact that he could pillage & profit for investors at the expense of job holders in no way qualifies him to hold public office. his record as mass. governor proves that. government is not big business- not to mention that he was part of the problem, not the solution. like it or not, bain's business model is what helped drive unemployment up. low information voters continue to vote against their own best interest. pay attention to history. 'conservative' mentality got us into this mess- putting another republican at the helm will only make economy worse. dems are not scared- they're pissed off and energized.

Watchdude
Watchdude

 Niiiice try DanielW. talk about throwing around buzzwords like "Wal-Mart" One of the major investors of Sillyndra was George Kaiser, who as you know is a HUGE Barack supporter and contributor. It was no surprise the $527 MILLION dollar loan was issued just a few months after Obama took office, and Obama seemed super pleased to announce the loan.

Powerrc
Powerrc

It showed in 2010 and it will again in 2012 taxed enough already!

anthonyvop
anthonyvop

Swetheart,

As I explained earlier, the company did not exist for the workers but for the owners.   Romney had a LEGAL & MORAL OBLIGATION to the stockholders to maximize their profits.  The only people to blame for the layoffs are the workers themselves.

Deal with it!

DanielW
DanielW

Oh, sorry, I didn't see this post before I replied to your post below asking whether you're just throwing out buzzwords.  OK, I get it now: yes, you are.

DanielW
DanielW

Well, we've sort of been talking about voting with our wallets this whole time, so you should know by now that I do, too.  And I hope you weren't implying that I'm asking the government for handouts or don't have just as much self respect as you.  I think we're concerned about a lot of the same things. 

I see that Obama took on a troubled economy, and under his watch the national debt has risen about 50% (compare to 300% during Reagan's terms, incidentally).  In about the same amount of time, Romney and Bain quadrupled (400%) the debt at Dade.

So if you say you don't like that the national debt has increased so much under Obama, count me in.  But given the Romney model -- and he's running on his business experience because his job creation record was so awful as governor, incidentally -- we'd be looking at a much, much bigger increase in debt.  And his economic "plan" confirms it.

My dad used to tell me, if you get in a hole, stop digging.  I don't know if it's quite that easy in the case of the national debt or the economy in general, but I'm damn sure we don't need to start digging as fast as possible, so my wallet won't let me vote for Romney.

anthonyvop
anthonyvop

The only positive from the Obama Presidency is that he actually made Jimmy Carter look not that bad.

I vote with my wallet but without asking the Government to give me anything. I have too  much self respect for that.   Romney it is

DanielW
DanielW

No question in my mind that both parties have helped privatize profits and socialize losses for a long time now, and yeah, that sucks.  And yeah, it's disappointing we don't get any great choices in candidates for presidential elections. 

Tea Party had a chance to shake things up, but it's managed to do the impossible: making the republican party even more beholden to their puppet masters and giving us even worse candidates and more inane political discourse.  Occupy had a chance, too, but I don't think they've done much of anything. 

So, yeah, it looks like there will once again be two viable choices this election, and neither one of them is particularly encouraging.  Romney just happens to be the worse of the two by quite a margin, so yeah, Obama it is.

anthonyvop
anthonyvop

 "Now, if you think that what this country needs is someone whose business model is to quadruple our debt solely to put more money in the pockets of a few very wealthy individuals, we'll just have to agree to disagree."

So your not going to vote for Obama either?

DanielW
DanielW

Actually, your narrative conveniently misses a step.  Dade Behring was making record profits by the late 90s and was a successful company by any yardstick.  It was at that point that Romney and Bain plunged the company into debt and eventual bankruptcy.  They were able to borrow so much money because the company was in fact doing so well.  Romney and Bain's management quadrupled the company's debt, largely to line a handful of investors' pockets. 

Hey, I can get behind the idea of having a man in the White House who "actually knows what it is to run a business."  But given Mitt's business model, he's just not the right man.  Now, if you think that what this country needs is someone whose business model is to quadruple our debt solely to put more money in the pockets of a few very wealthy individuals, we'll just have to agree to disagree.  If that's the kind of business acumen we have to look forward to, I'll take the community organizer, the baker or the candlestick maker over that any day.

anthonyvop
anthonyvop

     Dade Behring was bleeding cash due to poor productivity when Bain Capital purchased it in 1994 for $440 Million.  The Layoffs were necessary and in the long run saved hundreds of other jobs after years of cuts and reorganization under bankruptcy later to be sold to Siemans for $6.4 Billion Dollars.

  Just this alone is ample reason to replace the "Community Organizer" in the White House with a man who actually knows what it is to run a business....and successful one at that!

  

DanielW
DanielW

No, sweetheart, the only people to blame for the layoffs are Romney and his partners at Bain who made bad management decisions that drove Dade into the ground.  People can debate whether they made those bad decisions on purpose, as an "exit strategy" after bleeding a previously healthy company dry, or whether they were just bad managers who made a ton of money because their business model didn't actually depend on doing anything productive.  Whether they were sociopaths or just incompetent is beside the point - either way, it's hard to imagine Romney as someone who can help get the U.S. economy going.

You are right that Bain and Romney's only obligation is to maximize profits for their shareholders.  That's just like any business; it does not follow, though, that the workers are to blame for layoffs. 

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...