Saturday, January 10, 2009

Norm Coleman: Follow the Money - or lack thereof

Dovetailing on Coleman's eyebrow-raising links with wealthy financier Nasser Kazeminny (the guy who buys Norm suits), the Star Tribune highlights another odd piece of financial info on Minnesota's most recent Ex-Senator.  

Appears that Norm and his wife have over-mortgaged their condo in St. Paul, which has risen almost a half million in value over the last 10 years.  
Ramsey County property tax records indicate the Colemans have assumed greater and greater debt, increasing from a 30-year $172,900 mortgage in 1994 to a 30-year $775,000 mortgage the couple took out in March 2007.

Their house on St. Paul's Osceola Avenue has a 2009 estimated market value of $615,000, according to property tax records, suggesting they may owe substantially more than the property is worth.
I understand we've all got money issues, but a debt-to-value ratio raises some big questions: 
  • Who was granting these loans to the Colemans?  
  • Why was a public official/US Senator so cash poor as to need to overmortgage his property?
  • How did the Coleman's property value increase by 500k in 15 years - was it due to permanent improvements on the property?  
  • How did the comparable worth of neighboring properties increase (or not) during the same time period?
  • What connection or signal does this send that adds to the legitimacy of the lawsuits filed by an investor against Nasser Kazeminny for allegedly, and inexplicably, diverting $75,000 of his company's cash to Laurie Coleman for dubious "services rendered"?  
The press seem to be just scratching the surface on the Coleman's personal finances.  But this info suggests that were Norm Coleman treated like an average person, he would undoubtedly be seen as a sub-prime borrower.  That said, it certainly raises legitimate questions about preferential lending practices on the basis of his status as a US Senator.