President Barack Obama tapped Chicago business executive Penny Pritzker to be the next commerce secretary today. The nomination did not come without controversy.
Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet writes:
"As soon as Obama made the Pritzker announcement, the Republican National Committee went after her for her role in the 2001 failure of the family-controlled Superior Bank, a Hinsdale savings and loan, with an email headlined, "The New addition to Obama's economic team is another political ally with a history of controversial business practices." Pritzker was the former chairwoman of the bank."
In a 2008 article on Penny Pritzker's involvement with Superior Bank, former Sun-Times political reporter Abdon Pallasch revealed:
"Obama's campaign notes that Pritzker stepped down as chairwoman of the bank's board in 1994, seven years before it failed. She then went on the board of the bank's holding company.
But a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that until the end, Pritzker appeared to be taking a leadership role in trying to revive the bank with an expanded push into subprime loans.
Pritzker wrote in May 2001 that her family was recapitalizing the bank, and she pledged to "once again restore Superior's leadership position in subprime lending." The bank shut down in July 2001."
Here is the letter: