"The Biden Administration has acted swiftly and decisively to protect the American economy and strengthen public confidence in our banking system," Newsom said in a Sunday statement after the White House announced that day that SVB "depositors will have access to all of their money starting Monday, March 13."
Before the joint statement from the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced the bailout was released, Newsom on Saturday also let his constituents know that he had "been in touch with the highest levels of leadership at the White House and Treasury" since SVB collapsed.
What Newsom failed to include in his praise for the Biden administration's decision to intervene on behalf of SVB's customers, whose money over the FDIC-insured amount of $250,000 was in limbo before the move was made, is that three of his wineries — CADE, Odette, and PlumpJack — are clients of the bank.
Originally pointed out by The Intercept, SVB's library of global assets names the three upscale wineries as customers.
"Newsom also maintained personal accounts at SVB for years, according to a longtime former employee of Newsom's who handled his finances, and who requested anonymity to avoid professional reprisal," reported Ken Klippenstein.
In an email to the publication, Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said "Governor Newsom's business and financial holdings are held and managed by a blind trust, as they have been since he was first elected governor in 2018."
In a blind trust, beneficiaries are supposed to have no knowledge of the holdings, and no right to intervene in their handling. However, Newsom's spokesperson also failed to mention that his blind trust allows his sister, Hilary Newsom, to serve as president of his PlumpJack Group, a venture that includes hotels, wineries, restaurants, and liquor stores.
Former president Donald Trump was criticized similarly when he ran for office and had his blind trust managed by his sons, reported Politico in 2016.
Newsom, whose net worth is estimated to be between $18-22 million by Finty from his businesses and real estate, seems to take particular interest and care with his ventures. In 2018 when asked if he would sell his companies during the gubernatorial race, Newsom reportedly said, "These are my babies, my life, my family. I can't do that. I can't sell them."
Additionally, Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel, also reportedly has close ties with SVB. According to the Intercept, "Silicon Valley Bank gave $100,000 to the charity founded by Siebel, the California Partners Project, at the request of Newsom" in 2021.
The outlet also noted that the president of SVB Capital and man responsible for SVB's funds management, John China, is himself "a founding member of the California Partners Project's board of directors."
The collapse of SVB last week marked the second largest bank to fold in U.S. history, and the largest since the 2008 financial crisis when Washington Mutual was seized by federal regulators. Out of fears of contagion to other banks and the effects the seizure would have on the major and small businesses that were clients of SVB, the government announced it would back deposits.
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