Obama’s Mortgage Kingpin

Krupp clan has deep ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Douglas Krupp
August 7, 2012

One of President Obama’s newest high-dollar fundraisers is a mortgage investment kingpin with close ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government sponsored lending giants many blame for facilitating the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008.

Douglas Krupp cofounded the Berkshire Group, a Boston-based real estate investment firm, along with his brother George more than 30 years ago. The conglomerate has since grown to include seven equity funds, six mortgage funds, and two publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REIT).

Krupp is currently the director and chairman of Berkshire Income Realty, Inc. and a senior partner of Berkshire Realty Ventures, a private equity affiliate founded in 2010 by former Citi Group executive Larry Ellman.

Douglas Krupp and his wife Judith recently pledged to raise at least $500,000 for the president’s re-election campaign.

Since 2007, the couple has donated a combined $395,000 to Democratic candidates and committees, including more than $20,000 to Obama.

In June, the Krupps hosted the president at their Weston, Mass., mansion for an $18,000-a-head fundraiser that included such notable guests as Gov. Deval Patrick (D., Mass.) and senior Obama advisers David Plouffe and Valerie Jarrett.

George Krupp, currently the chief executive officer of the Berkshire Group, and his wife Lizbeth, have also pledged to bundle at least $500,000 each in donations for the president.

The Berkshire Group has a long history of doing business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Berkshire’s mortgage finance firm was the one of the largest loan servicers for the controversial mortgage giants, overseeing portfolios worth nearly $15 billion.

Between 2009 and 2011, the company purchased millions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities from Freddie Mac.

The Berkshire Group is also engaged in a number of financial ventures with the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm led by Obama bundler Hamilton James, and Goldman Sachs, the second largest contributor to President Obama’s campaign in 2008, giving more than $1 million.

Douglas Krupp is one of several prominent Obama fundraisers involved in the private equity industry. The president’s campaign, however, has been relentlessly attacking Republican nominee Mitt Romney over his tenure at Bain Capital, another Boston-based private equity firm.

Krupp, who donated $2,100 to Romney’s campaign in March 2007, has yet to join the ranks of prominent Democrats who have criticized Obama’s attacks on private equity.

In 1998, Krupp helped establish the Harborside Healthcare Corporation, a firm that owns and operates dozens of healthcare facilities across the country. He is currently a member of the Partners HealthCare system, a Massachusetts healthcare conglomerate poised to benefit from a Medicare provision coauthored by Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), to whom Krupp donated at least $2,000 in 2010.

An obscure provision Kerry helped insert into the Obama health care law boosted Massachusetts’ annual share of Medicare reimbursement payments by nearly $400 million, of which $40 to $50 million would go towards institutions owned by Partners.

Partners HealthCare employees have given Kerry more than $26,000 since 2007.