Politico: Perdue Was Hired to Outsource Pillowtex Jobs

Democrat Michelle Nunn’s campaign for the U.S. Senate seat has had to deal with the release of a plan that defined her campaign strategy and provided fodder for ads by Republican candidate David Perdue. In what could be described as karma, Politico today released a deposition from Perdue taken as a result of the Pillowtex bankruptcy that paints his career as being largely responsible for outsourcing manufacturing jobs to Asia.

During a July 2005 deposition, a transcript of which was provided to POLITICO, Perdue spoke at length about his role in Pillowtex’s collapse, which led to the loss of more than 7,600 jobs. Perdue was asked about his “experience with outsourcing,” and his response was blunt.

“Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that,” Perdue said, according to the 186-page transcript of his sworn testimony.

The deposition was triggered by a lawsuit brought by Pillowtex creditors who were unhappy with Perdue’s leadership, including claims that he received financial compensation he didn’t deserve. Perdue testified that the allegations were baseless, and none of them were ultimately substantiated by the lawsuit.

Perdue campaign manager Derrick Dickey said it was wrong to suggest from Perdue’s statements that the Republican candidate wanted to ship jobs overseas. Perdue’s comments about “outsourcing,” Dickey said, referred to a “company contracting with an outside source, not the direct shift of jobs overseas.”

The Washington Post notes that outsourcing jobs is a sensitive issue for voters that may have cost GOPer Mitt Romney in his presidential bid.

A September 2013 Post/Miller Center poll found that four in five Americans blame outsourcing for it being harder to find good jobs in the United States. A 2013 Pew poll determined that three-quarters of Americans see companies moving overseas as “mostly hurting” the U.S. economy. Outsourcing was also a flashpoint in the 2012 presidential campaign, with Mitt Romney’s campaign clashing with The Washington Post over its report that Bain Capital had invested in companies that sent jobs overseas.

The Post story also lists some of the most damaging statements contained in the deposition.

Matt Towery at Insider Advantage blames a rise in Michelle Nunn’s poll numbers on reaction by likely voters to an ad by Perdue highlighting alleged support for terrorism that was based on information in the Nunn campaign memo. Now it’s time to see what the Nunn campaign will do to highlight the Perdue deposition in future ads in the month before Election Day.

63 comments

  1. Michael Silver says:

    Politico, being so impartial, buries the real reason why and who was driving the outsourcing plan: the creditors (Oaktree Capital)

    When a firm comes out of bankruptcy, it has to have a plan to survive and help the creditors recover some of their invested money. Otherwise, the company gets liquidated and everyone loses their job. Perdue was hired to follow that plan.

    The bankruptcy proceedings and the plan sounds completely fubared, since $40M of the pre-existing pension benefits weren’t identified, which is highly irregular and likely illegal. That probably was one of many lies he was told by Oaktree to accept the job.

    One more thing …. the guy who ran Oaktree Capital and demanded the outsourcing is Howard Marks. He is a consistent Democrat contributor from California:
    http://www.oaktreecapital.com/people/bio.aspx?src=de&id=91
    http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/howard-marks.asp?cycle=14

    • Harry says:

      Good work.
      “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” – Winston Churchill

    • John Konop says:

      First Politico leans to the right and is very informative. Second in business your job is to return the highest ROI to investors within legal boundaries. Third your political views should be irrelevent when making business decisions, and finally both sides use this BS style of politics against business people, lawyers….just doing thier job.

      • xdog says:

        But but but Marks gave money to Eric Cantor and Rick Perry too. I suppose you guys think only gopers should be rich, politically-wired capitalists.

        As the WaPo story noted, out-sourcing is a hot issue with many voters. Why shouldn’t Nunn take advantage?

        • John Konop says:

          I am just saying it is dangerous line in politics…..Your job as a lawyer is to best represent your clients no matter personal feelings, your job as a business man is to best represent your stock holders……As those lines blur for political reasons we all have our rights taken away….

          • Michael Silver says:

            John, post-bankruptcy the shareholders are gone and have lost 100% of their investment. The new owners of the firm are the creditors of the pre-bankruptcy firm. Interestingly, the obligation of a business man in a bankruptcy or post-bankruptcy firm is to the Judge overseeing the proceedings.

            • John Konop says:

              Same concept….your choices are in the best interst of the creditors…you do represent plans as well….need all parties to agree….trust me I know this game…

        • Michael Silver says:

          xdog, Because the outsourcing was not his call. It was a decision made by the Creditors, ratified by a judge, and defined in a post-bankruptcy business plan. He was brought in to 1) save the company and 2) make the plan work. Generally, the plan can not be modified without consent of the new owners, aka the creditors.

          I saw first hand how the bankruptcy process works when I worked for Wordcom during its bankruptcy proceedings. I negotiate sales contracts. Early in the process, each sales contract regardless of size was submitted to the Judge for his approval. He/his people could and did change the terms of some of those contracts.

          CEO’s of company’s in or coming out of bankruptcy are a different breed. A normal CEO has years to make plans, see how they turn out, and modify to meet changing conditions. A CEO of a company in bankruptcy or coming out of bankrupcy goes into his job knowing its a short-term gig with lengthy an unemployment period afterward. They are the hired guns to save a company and then ride off into the sun-set when its saved. The needed skills and knowledge of a bankruptcy CEO are completely different than a normally solvent company.

          Frankly, legal and illegal immigration is harming more Americans than outsourcing. Most companies are now moving away from the outsourcing model because the quality of the resulting product SUX. According to recent media reports, ALL of the job growth in our nation went to immigrants. The HB1 Visa program is displacing American STEM workers. Illegals are stealing jobs that should go to Americans. Michelle is for Amnesty which will result in more unemployment and government dependency.

          • NoTeabagging says:

            How many jobs done by immigrants are willing to be done by “Americans”? Most immigrants take service jobs and hard labor jobs. Many of them are reliable, work hard, live in group residences to save money, and send money home to support their families.
            I know people in service industries that tried hiring “local” but found “locals” unreliable and would not do the work properly. Is this “free market” hiring?

            On the flip side, we have notorious retail corporations with reputations of paying “Americans” low wages, limited work hours, reduced or unaffordable benefits that causes these workers to apply for welfare, food stamps, and seek other government subsidies. Allegedly, because Americans would rather buy cheap, poorly made goods than pay for well made products at a price that also keeps their fellow citizens and service workers at an American Dream standard and off government subsidy.

          • xdog says:

            “Because the outsourcing was not his call.”

            Please. Anyone would have tried to reduce expenses, and planning to replace expensive domestic mfg with cheaper foreign mfg is a standard cost-cutting strategy.

            But that’s not the point. Claiming career expertise in moving jobs overseas is inconsistent with Perdue’s claims that he’s created jobs. That and his frankness in the deposition are the political point, although I expect you’ll hear more about his $1.7M pay for 9 months of work, including $100K moving expenses when he didn’t move and $700K to mitigate taxes on options he didn’t receive .

            Nunn has paid for the frankness in her strategists’ long memo and maybe Perdue will pay for his in the deposition.

            • John Konop says:

              It is a different topic but illegal immigration in many cases does drive down real wages…which is why Cesar Chavez testified before congress as head of the migrant workers that immigration should not be a tool to derive down wages. But, Michael is wrong about trade deals not putting pressure on wages as well….in fact when the jobs have come back real wages are still way off from the 70s…..Henry Ford said workers need to make enough to buy goods they produce..,..Which is why raising minimums age above the poverty line in trade for tax cuts in the amount it saves would be a smart compromise. This would fix the incentive to hire cheap illegal help….We can than come up with a logical compromise on immigration.

          • Bobloblaw says:

            Politico was founded by former employees of the Washington Post. Politico is decidedly center-left

            • John Konop says:

              Bob.

              Just the facts…

              ……..In a 2007 opinion piece, progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America accused Politico of having a “Republican tilt”. In a letter to Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, Senior Political Writer Ben Smith and Chief Political Correspondent Mike Allen, Editor in Chief John F. Harris reminded his colleagues that they had left the more “traditional news organizations” where they had worked previously, starting Politico with the intent to be more transparent. To that end, he asked his colleagues for an honest assessment of the claims set forth in the letter from Media Matters. Ben Smith answered: “Media Matters has a point: …that Bush’s public endorsement made us seem too close to the White House. That was clearly a favor from the president to us (albeit a small one), and felt to me like one of those clubby Beltway moments that make the insiders feel important and the outsiders feel (accurately) like outsiders.”…….

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politico

              • Bobloblaw says:

                “” Media Matters for America accused Politico of having a “Republican tilt”””

                I cant believe you have the nerve to quote Media Matters. A ultra left wing political group. Media Matters probably thinks Michelle Nunn has a “Republican Tilt”

                • John Konop says:

                  Bob,

                  In all due respect….they endorsed a GOP candidate for President….the source is from Wiki…yet a big time politico like you I am sure already knew this….

  2. Bobloblaw says:

    “”Matt Towery at Insider Advantage blames a rise in Michelle Nunn’s poll numbers on reaction by likely voters to an ad by Perdue highlighting alleged support for terrorism that was based on information in the Nunn campaign memo.””

    Matt Towery is not a serious pollster. In 2006, he and he alone said the Govs race was close. In 2008, he called the Chambliss/Martin runoff a nail biter.

    • HueyMahl says:

      Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hominem attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

      Awful lot of this going on in this thread. Must really have struck a nerve!

  3. jh says:

    I’d love to see Michelle ask David Perdue how his career, mostly in outsourcing, helps Georgians during the debate.

  4. To the original commenter – it doesn’t matter whether or not shareholders or a judge or anyone wanted him to outsource. The whole point is that your life choices matter to your character. David Perdue chose to be a (apparently successful) corporate executive who specialized in shipping American jobs overseas where production and labor is cheaper.

    That’s what he chose to do. Now he wants to be a Senator and part of the interview process for elected officials is what have you done with your life? Well, that’s the path he chose, and a lot of people don’t like that. Republican blinders prevented a lot of people from seeing this massive potential vulnerability.

    I remember so many people saying something along the lines of Georgians rejected this argument against Mitt Romney. No they didn’t. Ohio voters who actually saw the advertisements against Romney rejected him. The average Georgia voter had no idea the extent. Now they do, and they may yet reject Perdue.

    Good job guys! Kingston would be up by 10.

  5. Oh and the worst part about Perdue – he’s on tv and the radio lying about Michelle Nunn.

    A – Michelle Nunn’s campaign wrote a memo saying they were worried she could be attacked for her charity having an association with a terrorist group.

    B – Michelle Nunn ran a charity that gave money to terrorists.

    A is true. B is not true. He’s purposefully and willfully being obtuse about the difference. No class from this guy.

    • saltycracker says:

      The depressing thing is both ad campaigns validate that their target market for success is the more (pick a disconnect), dim, over-it, desensitized, politically numb or other knee-jerk vote of the “optic” majority amongst us.

      • saltycracker says:

        And the pitiful pillowettes demonstrate Nunn has the upper hand as she will appeal to those expecting the government to provide.

        • Yeah instead of taking David Perdue for his word when he said he was going to save their jobs (he was actually going to try to send them overseas but couldn’t even get that done) those workers should read Atlas Shrugged or something.

    • benevolus says:

      What is it with this Senate seat? It’s the same one Saxby took by questioning Max Cleland’s service.
      Nasty!

    • Harry says:

      I don’t see how anyone can blame David Perdue for working within the existing legal framework to make money. If we don’t like outsourcing, and I agree it should be reduced, then let’s increase tariffs and work to eliminate tax schemes that encourage such practices. Sure, many businessmen take advantage of the situation but do we make a target of the beer distributors for example when somebody drives drunk and kills people? I guess you could say it’s the American way not to pass judgment if they operate within the legal structure – yeah, maybe we should but that’s not done in our system. If we start playing that game then Democrats would be without Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama.

      • taylor says:

        A job that is legal doesn’t mean it’s not reasonable to ask if the skills, principles, etc associated with the job are what voters want in their elected leaders. Casino CEOs, community activists, strip club owners are all legal jobs. I know people that wouldn’t vote for anyone holding those titles.

          • John Konop says:

            Chris,

            You know better….If I follow your logic a lawyer should only represent clients they believe are innocent? A business executive should keep people employed even if it puts the company out of business? In my life I have had to make many tough calls…..but at the end it is not as simple as you make it….

            • HueyMahl says:

              Being a lawyer myself, your comment is pure BS. The analogy you are using is in reference to criminal defense attorneys, a very small subset of the legal profession. Just because you are an attorney, it does not mean you have to represent every scumbag that asks for your services. You have a choice in how you choose to proceed with your career and your life.

              As a business person, that is even more true. You don’t have to choose to work for a cigarette company that kills 100’s of thousands of people each year with their products. You do it because you are a greedy pig. Same analogy holds true for Perdue. You don’t have to take a job where you outsource 1000’s of jobs overseas, ruining lives in the process. You do it because you are a greedy pig.

              Voters know the difference.

              • John Konop says:

                You are saying attorneys should only take case based on politics? My dad is an attorney who took on many cases that were not politically correct because he believed in the legal system…Unlike you he believed all people and or businesses deserved their day in court.

                I saw him defend a lady who blew up abortion clinics yet he is pro choice. He defended the pit-bull society yet would never have one…When I was a kid ( 52 now)he defended a woman raped in jail by a prison guard she killed. A test case that moved rape into being considered a violent crime….many people at the time were very upset how he could represent a criminal in a case like this…I could go on and on…It was never about politics it was about the justice system…

                As far as business, in tough situation you make tough calls…I have been their….Your simplistic view of black or white calls does not do justice to the reality of the situation. When you take over a troubled company your first call is just survival…that means tough cuts, combined with smart investments…If not everyone is out of a job…obviously you never been their…From the cheap seats always easy for guys like you to take cheap shots…I was clear the attack on Nunn was BS for the terrorist crap….but this is the same crap…The problem is both sides unwillingness to cut the BS…and focus on real issues….

                • HueyMahl says:

                  I must not be writing clearly this morning, because you clearly have read something into my text that is not there.

                  Under our legal system, you are entitled to a defense no matter how heinous your alleged crime. I respect those attorneys that help keep liberty free by defending those accused of of the worst crimes. It is a honorable and necessary part of the justice system. You have every right to be proud of your father – heck, I’m proud of him, and I don’t even know who he is!

                  But that is not Perdue, and the analogy is completely off. Perdue sought out employment with Pillowtex so he could serve as its executioner. The analogy in the legal world would be the Plaintiff’s attorney that seeks to make his fortune suing the poor and destitute for their debts, or representing banks to help them dispossess families of their homes, or the plaintiff’s attorney that takes every fender-bender and tries to jack-up the insurance company for trumped up claims.

                  It’s called ethics. Your father had it. Not all attorneys do. Perdue doesn’t. His personal profit is more important to him than the pain his actions have on families. Yes, someone would have done the job at Pillowtex if he refused to do it. I wouldn’t vote for that a$$hole either.

                  • John Konop says:

                    ……..Perdue sought out employment with Pillowtex so he could serve as its executioner………

                    In all due respect not fair…..In turn around situation cuts are always in the bag….If you do turn it around the people left keep their jobs…I have been through the drill…Especially after the collapse it was even harder with money so tight….I have never met Mr. Perdue just know his reputation….In the business world it is solid….My last deal I took over we did survive….but I had to make tough cuts….And now we are growing again….It is not as easy as it looks….My job is to generate profits for stockholders….if done right over time jobs grow….directly and or indirectly…..I am sure Mr. Perdue was trying to make the best of a bad situation. As Mrs. Nunn and her charity work….

                    • John the whole point of the deposition is that even though Perdue was saying publicly that he was trying to turn Pillowtex around and save those jobs, he was actually hired with the goal of shipping the remaining production overseas.

                      Apparently the company was in worse shape than people thought (or Perdue is a worse manager than they thought) and ended up folding before they could ship the jobs overseas.

                      But the point is – those people were losing their jobs whether Perdue was successful at his job or not. The whole point was that they were losing their jobs.

                      Now – you could argue that we need people in this world to do David Perdue’s job. And we also need social workers and teachers. And since being a social worker, or teacher, or small town lawyer, or doctor is a noble profession that people are proud to do, it pays a reasonable salary depending on your level of education. Many people will be social workers at $30k/year because they want to help others.

                      Being the guy who specializes in shutting down American factories and shipping jobs overseas is less noble. That is why it pays big $’s. Because not even everyone who is qualified to do it wants to do it. It is called a tradeoff. You get big $ because you’re doing something unsavory.

                      I honestly don’t think the Republicans on here would be so quick to defend someone running for office if it was discovered they were a producer of porno films. Again – something society needs, and something that isn’t noble, so you can make good money doing it.

                      But life is about a series of trade offs. No one is ENTITLED to a senate seat, their past record be damned. Perdue profited to the tune of more money than we will probably ever see ourselves doing what he did, and I don’t hold it against him. I just think he’s (potentially) facing the other end of that bargain, the devil is ready to collect.

                    • John Konop says:

                      Chris you are better than this…..comparing running a porn shop to trying to turn around a failing business is ridiculous….And to take this one deal and equate it to Mr. Perdue’s complete business career is not right…..

                      By any stretch he is a successful businessman…..What you are doing is why many of have do not like politics….instead of debating real issues this is BS…I get the strategy from Nunn attack Perdue and avoid any real policy….Perdue strategy is to paint Nunn as an out of control liberal, and once again no real policy debate. Is this really the best we can do?

            • objective says:

              one can always stand up for justice, no matter what side of the equation you’re on. creditor or debtor, criminal defense or prosecution. so much is circumstantial. however, candidates bring to public office the skill set they’ve otherwise developed. it’s their default way to deal with problems. perdue’s career history is fair game, and it doesn’t sound like he stood up for local employees. but he will have the opportunity to say he won’t do that any more. he will need to rehabilitate his image — come to think of it, lots of criminal defense lawyers believe in rehabilitation instead of retribution…..

              • John Konop says:

                In all due respect if you invested your money into a company….is my job to stand up for local employees or protect and grow your investment? You realize as an executive it is clear you report to stockholders first end of story….or in this deal creditors…

                • benevolus says:

                  As a corporate executive you get judged on that criteria, but as a candidate for senate you get judged by different criteria. Being an outsourcing specialist doesn’t technically disqualify him for the job, but it may in many voters minds. It is not a skill that is valued, necessary, or sought in a senator.

                  • objective says:

                    look at it this way- what if he had refused to allow layoffs of local employees, and got fired or resigned in the process. that would seem like some bragging rights for a senate candidate.

                    • John Konop says:

                      You are advocating using politics to further your chances of winning an election over protecting your investment? HUH? I hope you invest better than this….

        • Harry says:

          Well, I guess we should un-elect half the Senate. There but for the grace of God go you. At least it’s not been disclosed Perdue is cheating on his wife. One recent president was known for doing it. But politics makes strange bedfellows, no?

        • Michael Silver says:

          How dare that peasant try to deny a Senate seat to the heirs of the family Nunn.

          That Senate seat is to held by a Nunn or a substitute that will vote like a liberal democrat, ie Saxby Chamnesty. They are entitled to assume that seat anytime one of the family Nunn needs a new job.

          For crying out loud, that peasant got his hands dirty picking watermelons as a boy, graduated from the North Ave. Trade School, and went off to become a successful businessman that grew businesses and increased Americans with paying jobs. We can’t have that! We need a member of the political elite who used her daddy’s extensive contacts to operate a non-profit that only paid wages to 0.1% of the workers while the rest worked for free.

          For all of the talk about the Democrats being the party of the little man, they sure love hereditary succession. Examples are Nunn, Carter, Lundergan in KY, Cuomo in NY.

          • You seriously want to have a dynasty fight between Perdue and Nunn?

            Let me just remind you that Perdue’s cousin was Governor, appointed David to the most powerful state board there is, and then the two of them opened a business directly related to their experience in state government not less than a year after Sonny left office.

            Um, but sure Michelle’s dad was a Senator 20 years ago and she’s worked for a series of non-profits since. A regular aristocracy if i’ve ever seen one!

          • David C says:

            Yup. You never hear good Republican families like the Bushs, Cheneys, Perdues, or Romneys having multiple family members run for office. It just isn’t done!

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