Tags: Gupta's | InfoUSA | Pays | Pelosi's | Son

Gupta's InfoUSA Pays Pelosi's Son

Monday, 04 June 2007 12:00 AM

A database company that has showered money on Bill and Hillary Clinton – and is alleged to have aided scam artists – now appears to have close links to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's family as well.

The firm InfoUSA, headed by major Clinton backer Vinod Gupta, has placed Pelosi's son, Paul Pelosi Jr., on its payroll – even though he has no experience in the company's main business activities, NewsMax has learned.

As NewsMax previously reported, InfoUSA repeatedly rented marketing databases to unscrupulous persons who used the information to defraud the unsuspecting elderly, investigators found.

The company is also under fire in a shareholder lawsuit which alleges that Gupta is appropriating company funds for personal use and his political pet projects.

Shareholder critics are furious that Gupta had InfoUsa pay former President Bill Clinton $2.1 million in "consulting fees" since he left the White House, with another $1.2 million promised.

Pelosi's son Paul acknowledged he has also been taking trips on corporate jets provided by Info USA.

Just four weeks after Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House this past January, Gupta and InfoUSA hired her son as a senior vice president. He told NewsMax InfoUsa pays him $180,000 a year.

Even though his job with InfoUSA is considered full-time, Paul Pelosi continues another full-time job, as a home loan officer at Countrywide Home Loans, part of Countrywide Financial, in San Mateo, a suburb of San Francisco.

While InfoUSA is based in Omaha, Pelosi said he reports to a small InfoUSA office in San Mateo.

In two interviews, Paul Pelosi confirmed that Gupta hired him as senior vice president for strategic development starting Feb. 1, just after Pelosi's mother took the gavel as speaker on Jan. 4. He said his mother is aware of his new job.

A person familiar with the arrangement says Gupta treats Pelosi as a "trophy" and has the Speaker's son accompany him at high profile meetings around the country.

Pelosi denied the suggestion he is being used because of his family ties.

"I don't think that's really what happens," he said.

Nor does he "think" his hiring was related to his mother becoming speaker, he said. But he acknowledged the timing raises a "good question."

"It's interesting, timing-wise," Pelosi said. "I don't see it that way, but I could see why you'd ask the question ... I guess you always wonder why somebody hires you, right?"

Asked how he can hold two full-time jobs at once, Pelosi said Countrywide is satisfied as long as he fulfills his quotas.

Spokesmen for Nancy Pelosi and for InfoUSA did not respond to requests by NewsMax for comment.

Paul Pelosi said he met Gupta about three years ago when the businessman refinanced a $3 million Countrywide loan on one of his more than half a dozen homes. He said he decided to apply for a job with InfoUSA about six months ago.

Asked what a home mortgage loan officer would know about the business of InfoUsa which manages databases about consumers for direct mail and telemarketing, Pelosi said his experience in investment banking has been useful to the company in its acquisitions of other companies.

"Basically, the record's pretty clear that they buy about two or three companies a year and that is to continue," he said. "And so what you want to do is you want to take a look at the earnings of a company and you want to take a look at what they do ... You've got to do an analysis of the people and the strategic fit."

Pelosi said he "did the same thing" at Montgomery Securities and Bank of America, previous companies he worked for.

In 1995, Pelosi obtained a joint law degree and MBA from Georgetown University with a concentration in world economies and global sustainable development.

Before becoming a home loan officer at Countrywide, he was a sales manager at the company's San Mateo office.

"I'm very qualified at what I do," he said. "I work a lot of hours at it, and it's only been a couple months but in that short period of time, I've been able to really work on some material projects, which are coming forward."

Since starting with InfoUSA, Pelosi said he has looked into a possible acquisition of a company in Portland, Ore., with revenue of $8 million a year.

"For a company that does $650 million in [projected] revenue a year, $8 million is a small thing," Pelosi said. "I go in there and meet with the people, we look at the leases. We're trying to figure out what their cash flow is."

When he flies on the company jet, Pelosi said, it's always with Gupta on business. He said his relationship with Gupta is "nothing like the Clinton situation."

The Iowa attorney general's office, in an investigation that began in 2005, found that InfoUSA sold consumer data to telemarketing criminals who used it to steal money from elderly Americans, sometimes wiping out their life savings.

InfoUSA advertised call lists with titles like "Elderly Opportunity Seekers" or "Suffering Seniors," a compilation of names and phone numbers of people with cancer or Alzheimer's disease. "Oldies but Goodies" was a list of 500,000 gamblers over age 55.

"These people are gullible," the company said in describing the list. "They want to believe that their luck can change."

E-mails show the company continued to sell the lists even though its employees knew their customers were being investigated for fraud that victimized the elderly. InfoUSA has said the lists were aberrations and has said it would not engage in such practices again.

Gupta, 60, is an entrepreneur from India who founded InfoUSA in 1972 and built it into a publicly traded company with reported revenue of $434 million in 2006.

Gupta also considers himself a player in Democratic fundraising circles and stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom when Bill Clinton was in the White House. He gave at least $1 million to the Clinton Library and raised over $200,000 for Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.

Hillary has also made extensive use of InfoUSA's jet for campaign trips for which she had to reimburse InfoUSA an amount equal to a first class airline ticket. Use of a corporate jet for two hours could be worth $20,000 or more, but under Senate rules Mrs. Clinton may only have to pay the equivalent of the premium ticket.

In the past, Stormy Dean, chief financial officer of InfoUSA, has said Bill Clinton lends the company "credibility."

The payments to Clinton came to light as a result of shareholder lawsuits brought by Cardinal Capital Management of Greenwich, Conn., an investment management firm, and Dolphin Limited Partnership of Stamford, Conn., a hedge fund.

The suits, now consolidated, claim that Gupta's spending on the Clintons is part of a pattern of improper corporate expenditures for such items as luxury cars, jets, and houses, as well as a yacht based in the U.S. Virgin Islands with an all-female crew.

Gupta has said the expenditures were legitimate and has asked for dismissal of the lawsuit.

Besides being a loan officer at Countrywide and now a senior vice president of InfoUSA, Paul Pelosi is president of San Francisco's Commission on the Environment. Former Mayor Willie Brown originally appointed him in 2003.

The affable Pelosi keeps an extremely low profile. But in a recent interview with Men's Vogue, Pelosi revealed that he lives in an apartment in San Francisco's Marina district, where he abstains from using heat or air conditioning and doesn't wash his clothes during peak energy consumption hours.

According to the magazine, he usually takes the electric bus, but when he does drive, it's in a tiny, two-seat Smart car, a hand-me-down from his parents.

Referring to his position with the environmental commission, Pelosi told the magazine, "If we think there's an environmental hazard that can be prevented, then we don't wait for that risk to emerge."

Pelosi's commission has urged the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to require stores to charge a fee to customers who want plastic bags rather than paper.

Pelosi, a marathon runner, described himself as "a momentum person" who often makes a six-egg omelet for breakfast.

"Six eggs at a minimum," he told NewsMax. "Six is a good start. I'm a doer, I work. So I have to take in some fuel, I got to get going in the morning. I have to eat, because I gotta think, and I gotta work."

Pelosi has four sisters, including Alexandra, a documentary filmmaker. Alexandra's entertaining "Journeys with George" followed George W. Bush during his first presidential campaign.

Nancy Pelosi met her future husband, Paul Pelosi, while attending Trinity College in Washington. After she graduated in 1962, they married and moved to his hometown of San Francisco, where he is in real estate.

Because of his holdings, she is the ninth wealthiest member of the House, with assets of $14.7 million to $55 million.

Paul Sr.'s San Francisco investment firm owns stock in companies like Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Disney, and Johnson & Johnson.

His real estate investments include a four-story office building in the Financial District of San Francisco, office buildings on Battery and Sansome streets, a building housing a drugstore near Ocean Beach, and other commercial property in San Anselmo.

Other California investments include a St. Helena vineyard, a town house in Norden, and minority interests in the Auberge du Soleil resort hotel in Rutherford, the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, and the Piatti Italian restaurant chain.

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A database company that has showered money on Bill and Hillary Clinton - and is alleged to have aided scam artists - now appears to have close links to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's family as well. The firm InfoUSA, headed by major Clinton backer Vinod Gupta, has placed...
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2007-00-04
Monday, 04 June 2007 12:00 AM
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