Rattner's $15 million 'share the pain' summer home

I have written before about the competency gap that seems to afflict the auto team that President Obama has assembled to help his expropriation of the auto industry, and the virtual stealing of stakes held by pension fund managers and other financial institutions.

They may also have bought a lemon in Chrysler . (Did they kick the tires at all?) . I have wondered not just about the wisdom of choosing a union negotiator as one of the two heads of the auto team, but also about the other head - financial wheeler-dealer Steven Rattner whose investment firm is mired in corruption investigations.

Why was Rattner picked? He had no auto industry, or heavy industry experience. Outsiders can sometimes be good to shake things up, but usually they have some industry experience (the current head of Ford has been outstanding; his previous experience was successfully building planes at Boeing -  assembly work, and that is the basis of the auto industry).

Now comes news that Rattner not only has been a very generous contributor to Democrats over the years but his wife was the former national finance chair of the Democrat party. These are how favors are repaid by the Democrats (and at times, by the Republicans). The livelihood of our domestic auto industry is at stake and Obama chooses to reward Democratic moneybags - especially one like Rattner who knows how to live it up when the rest of the country is hurting.

Rattner is building a 15,500 square foot "summer home" near Martha's Vineyard. And the residents of that historic area are angered by Rattner's ostentation as Richard Johnson of the New York Post's Page Six gossip column reports:

Rattner is moving full-speed ahead with construction of a lavish, $15 million summer home in the Lambert's Cove area of West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard -- a palatial mansion he's had in the works since 2006. It's caused a furor among wealthy Vineyard residents, who've called the planned 15,500-square-foot project far too big and gaudy, The Post's Mark DeCambre reports.

Nonetheless, the town's Land Use Planning Committee greenlighted the scheme, which involves transporting an existing building to an adjoining larger property on Obed Daggett Road. Adding to the controversy, the mansion is close to a sacred Native American burial ground protected by a permanent preservation restriction, according to the Martha's Vineyard Times.

Rattner has been tough on banks and hedge-fund managers unwilling to take haircuts on stakes they own in failing car companies. Yet Rattner, his wife, Maureen White, the former national finance chair for the Democratic Party, and their four children enjoy plush lifestyles because of the success of his Quadrangle Group hedge fund, which manages Mayor Bloomberg's $16 billion fortune. His fund has been under scrutiny in a pension scandal being probed by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Rattner also donated generously to Hillary Clinton's and John Kerry's campaign which goes to show it's not what you know but who you know in the Obama administration.