So Allred’s October surprise is only sort of new, it seems. Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, the wife of Romney’s friend and Staples founder Tom Stemberg has been trying to tell her story for a while. To pretty much everyone who would listen. In fact, before Gloria Allred got ahold of it, it seems, Maureen even had a movie made about her life.
From the Boston Herald, October 28, 2008 (should be available but link is broken):
Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, the Starter Wife of former Staples sultan Tom Stemberg, is the subject of a soon-to-be-released documentary about how her life became a living hell after her high-profile divorce 20 years ago. “The Maureen Sullivan Stemberg Story: A Portrait in Courage” is being produced by DragonLion Media, which released an unauthorized film bio of exiled director Roman Polanski last spring.
Stemberg, who is now an independently wealthy interior designer, also claimed to be the inspiration for the Staples company, prompting her husband to begin the business out of their home after a three-year-long unemployment, according to press release from Dragon-Lion Media, the movie’s production company.
Maureen the first wife and inspiration for Staples which Tom Stemberg founded in 1985. Prior to 1985 he was out of work for almost three years. Tom Stemberg, served as CEO and drove the company through its growth from infancy to what is now a worldwide superstore based on the idea of a home-office…
Maureen Sullivan Stemberg will provide an in-depth account in this first-time tell all tale of the interweaving relationships and strange bedfellow that business has made in her life. Such luminaries include former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney – who was the former Republican nominee in the 2008 Presidential campaign, as well as one of the first major investors for Staples while he was employed by Bain Capital, Boston, MA. This story will include the injustice of the Mass. Probate Justice system. Other heavy hitting names have yet to be released in this as of yet untold story including Dola Davis Hamilton Stemberg.
Apparently, the movie never got picked up, though they did pitch Lifetime, who will typically pick up anything from an Elizabeth Taylor biopic starring Lindsey Lohan, to bizarre after-school specials warning girls not to sleep with guys who randomly call them at all hours of the night. At any rate, it seems, if Maureen had one thing she wanted to tell the world, it’s that she thought – not that she had proof, mind you…just that the firmly believed – that Mitt Romney had lied on the stand to protect her ex-husband.
Edmund Druilhet, the founder and CEO of Dragon-Lion Media, tells Mother Jones that Stemberg had discussed with him her belief that Romney had testified falsely to help Tom Stemberg during the trial. “She told me all about that,” he says. And Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti, who was tapped to be the writer on the documentary, says that when she was working with Maureen Sullivan Stemberg she read the Romney testimony and that Romney on the stand said that Staples at that time was just “a dream,” and that stock in the company was not worth much.
The funny thing is, at the time, Staples was a closely-held corporation, not a public corporation, so according to Massachusetts family law, regardless of the value of the stock (or the value Mitt Romney put on the stock in his testimony to the court), typically Maureen would have been awarded half the number of shares she owned in common with her husband. According to sources, that means Maureen gained approximately 500,000 shares of the fledgling Staples company (this was 1985, remember). Unfortunately for Maureen she then sold the stock- before it had it’s IPO, meaning, before she could have made the real money on them, perhaps in response to Mitt Romney’s valuation advice (but that’s her problem, not his). And then it appears she spent that stock money on lawyers in an attempt to re-litigate the case repeatedly, something the Massachusetts courts frown upon.
She seems bitter. Perfect match for Gloria, I guess. Though, perhaps the Democrats might want to think twice before hitching their wagon to what seems a bit like a pair of attention-seekers, at least one of which seems to be using the election cycle to get at her ex husband.
There are a lot of questions, obviously. The most notable among them, why the Boston Globe waited until two weeks before an election to go to court to unseal documents for testimony they knew existed in 2008, if not earlier. But it’s not as though the whole of America doesn’t understand the reason that this is being pushed to the forefront now. Even in 2006, the Boston Globe seemed pretty skeptical that Stemberg was short on funds, considering that the address she gave their reporter was to a $5,200-per-month apartment, even as – at the time of the article – she was requesting her ex-husband, who was worth $150 million, increase his spousal support.
At any rate, this whole thing is 25 years old. With time running short, if this is the best Obama can do, he might just be increasing voter turnout for Romney.
UPDATE: She also appears to hate Mormons. Maybe. At least, someone with her name does.