Obama allies aim to unseal Romney friend’s divorce records

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Gov. Mitt Romney doesn’t have any damaging divorce-records to unseal just before the election — but one of his friends does, so President Barack Obama’s supporters are pushing a Boston court to unseal those records before election day.

Going after unsealed divorce records is Obama’s “signature move,” conservative columnist Ann Coulter wrote in August.

In 2004, Obama’s allies unsealed divorce records that effectively defeated Blair Hall, a business executive who was the leading candidate in the Democrats’ 2004 primary race for the U.S. Senate.

Obama’s allies — including the Chicago Tribune, the former employer of his campaign strategist, David Axelrod — repeated the trick shortly after by unsealing California divorce-records that forced Republican candidate Jack Ryan to quit.

This time around, the target is Romney, the newspaper is the Boston Globe, and the divorce records belong to Tom Stemberg, who worked with Romney to create Staples, the office supply store.

Stemberg is reportedly fighting against the release of those records.

Romney’s campaign says it does not oppose release of the records.

The intended audience of the courtroom drama consists of women voters who have moved away from Obama during the last few weeks. That loss of female support has left Obama behind Romney in national polls.

The October surprise was unveiled Wednesday by entertainment news site TMZ.

The site reported that feminist lawyer Gloria Allred accompanied Stemberg’s former wife — Maureen Sullivan Stemberg — to a Boston courthouse early on Wednesday, where the Boston Globe asked a judge to unseal the divorce records.

“The Boston Globe got a tip that there was ‘juicy information about Romney’ in the sealed documents [and that] Romney, Stemberg and Maureen were all served papers by the Globe notifying them that the paper was trying to unseal the case and lift the gag order enforced on all parties,” said TMZ.

The Boston Globe leans Democratic, endorsed Obama in 2008, and is expected to endorse Obama this year.

“Mitt Romney LIED under oath when he testified in the divorce of his good friend and screwed the friend’s wife out of a lot of money in the process … so claims the ex-wife of Staples’ founder Tom Stemberg,” claimed the TMZ report.

“Partly as a result of Romney’s testimony, Maureen got relatively little in the divorce, but we’re told just weeks after the divorce ended, Romney and Tom went to Goldman Sachs and cashed in THEIR stock for a fortune,” TMZ said.

TMZ said Stemberg’s wife owned 250,000 share of Staples after the divorce. Their value rose to $5 million, or $20 per share, in 1999.

Follow Neil on Twitter