Colorado’s 4th Congressional District covers most of the eastern half of Colorado. It is a +12 Republican district. And frankly, it deserves better than State Senator Scott Renfroe. While there are a variety of issues with Renfroe, the largest issue for those in the rural farm land that makes up the district is the connections to New Frontier Bank [NFB] and its failure in 2009.
Renfroe’s father, Jack Renfroe, was a board member and director of the failed bank. Renfroe was himself a share holder. When NFB was shut down by state regulators in April of 2009 it left farmers in the eastern plains in a state of limbo. NFB had been heavily involved in agricultural loans, and the people of the eastern plains relied upon those loans to maintain their farms.
According to Colorado Pols, which admittedly is a democrat source, when Rep. Betsy Markey along with Senators Bennet and Udall held a meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the NFB failure, Renfroe asked for the government to bail out the shareholders and board.
After he spoke, I caught him at the back of the room and asked him, “did you just tell us that government was the solution?” He chucked and said that he guess he had. I followed up and asked him from whom we were being saved. “Aren’t we saving ourselves from you and your father?”
Oddly, he answered quickly and fairly well (rehearsed?) that the problem came because the loans we fine, until new regulations came into place.
By the end of 2009 media reports had come out that showed NFB’s loans weren’t fine and the government didn’t cause its fall. In fact, an investigative report by the Denver Post found that NFB had potentially committed fraud.
The maneuvers, including the masking of loan losses and insider dealing, were missed or went unpunished by state and federal regulators for years leading up to the $1 billion bank failure — the costliest in Colorado history.
When all was said an done, NFB wasn’t just a failed bank, it was a bank whose highest executives would end up in court.
Federal sentencing guidelines call for Gregory William Bell, 54, to receive up to 30 years on each of three counts, including bank fraud, and up to 20 years for money laundering.
In a plea agreement signed by Bell, prosecutors say he has provided them with assistance in the case and that he promises to continue cooperating in the future, U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock said. That cooperation allows the judge to depart from the guidelines.
To be clear, as a shareholder, Renfroe is not exactly accountable in the same way the executives at NFB are, but asking for a bailout should have been out of the question. Especially when one considers the fact this NFB was one of the bad apples that helped cause this mess, rather than a victim of federal government overreach in banking regulations as Sen. Renfroe stated at the time.
Colorado’s 4th CD deserves better than a “conservative” who asked for a bailout.
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