Obama Insiders Want to Buy Floundering For-Profit, University of Phoenix
Today, I read an article entitled, “Bid to Buy For-profit College by Former Obama Insiders Raises Questions.” I cannot share it with readers because the articleappeared in Politico Pro, an exclusive publication that costs between $10,000 and $300,000 a year for a subscription. (The article was sent to me. I did not pay for it. Even USDOE decided not to pay the $25,000 per year it would cost to subscribe.)
But I believe it is important to relay to readers information from the article. So, what I will do in this *free* post is paraphrase some of the article content and cite from/link to other sources.
(Update 06-30: Thank you to Peter Greene, who found the very same article on “regular” Politico. Read it here. Apparently the $10,000 – $300,000 difference is in a day: The free piece was posted on 06-29, and the pay piece was posted 06-28.)
Obama’s very close friend (“first friend?”), Marty Nesbitt, and others are seeking US Department of Education (USDOE) approval to purchase the fiscally-troubled for-profit, University of Phoenix. Nesbitt and former Deputy Secretary of Education, Tony Miller, run a Chicago-based private equity firm, Vistria Group.
Vistria Group is part of a small collective that wants to purchase University of Phoenix, and the for-profit school’s parent organization, Apollo Education, is apparently all in.
USDOE approval would keep the student loan and Pell grant bucks coming to University of Phoenix– which happens to be the subject of three state attorneys general as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The price tag for Vistria et al. appears to be $1.1 billion. As it stands, University of Phoenix receives $2 billion annually in public money.
If University of Phoenix goes under, then all of those student loans are forgiven– which means taxpayers foot the bill. If Vistria et al. acquire University of Phoenix, then the goings-on at the school become private. No more requiring that that public be made aware of the salaries of the school’s executives, or that the public be made aware of litigation against the school, or that the public know about pending investigations.
Then comes the issue of a number of people close to Obama, or the White House, being involved in the proposed acquisition. Miller is one. He would be in charge of Apollo Education if Vistria et al. acquire University of Phoenix.
Another Vistria convert is former White House aide, Jonathan Samuels. In 2014, Fortune featured the Nesbitt-Samuels connection in this piece:
The private equity firm run by one of President Obama’s best friends is getting even closer to his administration. The Chicago-based Vistria Group, co-founded last year by longtime Obama pal Marty Nesbitt, has hired Jon Samuels, one of the President’s top lieutenants on Capitol Hill, Fortune has learned.It’s not immediately clear what role Samuels will fill for the fledglingObama Insiders Want to Buy Floundering For-Profit, University of Phoenix | deutsch29: