Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gimleteye: H.I.G. Capital, based in Miami, pops up on the Romney radar

H.I.G. Capital is based in Miami, one of the few private equity firms in South Florida. From all appearances, H.I.G. is very successful. Its website claims over $10 billion capital under management in diverse fields. Nearly every one of its key directors is a graduate of Harvard Business School. Its founders have a close association with Bain Capital, the source of the Mitt Romney fortune.

Without knowing more, H.I.G. would fall in the Eye On Miami universe among Brickell Avenue elite absorbed with finance as an agnostic matter. It is no surprise that private equity managers are firmly in the Romney camp. President Obama proposes change to tax law that would change treatment of private equity capital gains to ordinary income tax. If the November election were held among Harvard Business School graduates, Romney would win in a landslide.

But it will not be held in that subset of voters, nor does most of the Brickell Avenue elite intersect with the civic life as we know it at EOM. I may be wrong.

The Free Press identifies H.I.G. as controlling owner of ballot counting machinery built by Hart Intercivic. "In all 234 counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in swing state Ohio, votes will be cast on eSlate and ePollbook machines made by Hart Intercivic. Hart Intercivic machines have famously failed in Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), adding 10,000 non-existant votes. The EVEREST study, commissioned by the Ohio secretary of state in 2007, found serious security flaws with Hart Intercivic products."

The H.I.G. website says, "Hart InterCivic, based in Austin, Texas, is a leading national provider of voting systems and election management products and services. Serving election administrators since 1912, Hart offers deep competencies across the electoral process with field-proven products, services and support that successfully and dependably meet the demands of current election procedures. The Company's products are used in federal, state and local elections throughout the United States, where each year, tens of millions of votes are cast on Hart's voting systems."

The Hart InterCivic website lists its board of directors, here.

The Free Press continues, "Looking beyond the well-documented Google choking laundry list of apparent fraud, failure and seeming corruption that is associated with Hart Intercivic, an ongoing Free Press investigation turned its attention to the key question of who owns the voting machine companies. The majority of the directors of Hart come from the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. has been heavily invested in Hart Intercivic since July 2011, just in time for the current presidential election cycle. But who is H.I.G Capital? Out of 49 partners and directors, 48 are men, and 47 are white. Eleven of these men, including H.I.G. Founder Tony Tamer, were formerly employed at Bain and Company, and two of those men, John P. Bolduc, Douglas Berman, are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve."

H.I.G. principals may not enjoy being singled out for scrutiny, but money and investment in ballot counting machinery is not an agnostic matter; not when there is such significant potential for miscreants to steal elections. Some may remember the 2004 controversy involving Diebold Election Systems. H.I.G. key managers in Miami should not be surprised about public scrutiny. It wouldn't be the first time that Miami-based individuals popped up on the national radar, involving ambitions for the White House.


Anonymous said...

This is where elections become scary. Get the machines that count the votes, modify the law of the voting system right before election, change electoral districts, and saturate the market with inflammatory propaganda. If those cards are played right, the candidate really does not have to care for the 47% or the 90% for that matter... Let's hope there is still some integrity to the system and the popular vote, counted correctly, reflect a country with common sense.

Anonymous said...

A different kind of plumbing.

Grayland said...

As we learned in both History and it's application during the Gore V Bush stuff, the popular vote doesn't really count. That's why strategists are focusing on the electoral college maps, for the most part. It's a numbers game all around!

Anonymous said...

A society that experiences a trillion dollar collapse of the housing and banking sectors without an iota of accountability, that allows voter suppression and absentee ballot fraud to go unchecked, is certainly suspect when it comes to holding fair elections.

Anonymous said...

How many days before the newspapers pick up the story?