(Reuters) — Marc Leder, the host of the fundraiser where Mitt Romney labeled 47 percent of Americans as people who paid no tax and believed the government has a responsibility to care for them, has spent most of his career in relative obscurity.
But the 51-year-old private equity executive, who made his fortune buying and selling distressed companies, has been thrust into the headlines, finding his way first into the tabloids as the result of a contentious divorce and raucous parties and, more recently, onto the front pages thanks to the Romney event.
Leder, co-founder of Sun Capital Partners Inc, held the $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in May at his Boca Raton, Florida, home during which the Republican presidential candidate was secretly video taped dismissing Obama’s supporters - almost half the country’s voters - as too dependent on government.
The tape was released this week and put Romney on the defensive in the face of accusations from Democrats that he didn’t care about the poor or the middle class and wouldn’t be a president for all Americans.
“I hosted a fundraiser for an old friend in May,” Leder said in a statement provided by his firm’s spokesman, who declined to comment further for this article.
“I believe all Americans should have the opportunity to succeed, to improve their lives, and to build even better lives for their children. I have supported people from both political parties who share this view and make it a priority, even though their ideas on how to achieve it may differ.”
The financier has thrown his financial weight behind Romney, an “old friend” Leder credits with inspiring his move from investment banking into private equity. Out of the $337,000 Leder has spent in political donations in this election season, $321,600 has gone to Mitt Romney and other Republicans and Republican-aligned groups, according to Reuters calculations.
People who know Leder describe him as the quintessential private equity executive - a confident, outgoing personality, who is interested in even the smallest details at the more than 80 companies owned by his firm.
“He is very much into detail … He focuses on the garnish on a plate and says why do you need to put a pickle on a plate if nobody’s eating it?” said George Michel, CEO of Sun Capital portfolio company Boston Market, a fast food chain.