Carl H. Lindner, Jr.

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Carl Henry Lindner, Jr. is Chairman and CEO of the American Financial Group (AFG) of Cincinnati, Ohio; Majority Owner and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Former Board Chairman of Chiquita Brands International. [1]

According to his Forbes 400 profile in 2005, Lindner was then 86 and listed as #133: "Dropped out of school age 14, worked as a milk delivery boy for family dairy during Depression. Opened ice cream shop with 2 brothers and $1,200 in 1940, grew into United Dairy Farmers chain. Now run by brother Robert, today operates more than 200 stores. Acquired S&Ls 1959; diversified into insurance 1971. With sons owns 42% of American Financial Group. Co-owner of pro baseball's Cincinnati Reds donates tickets to students, civic workers. Still no plans to retire. 'My main hobby is working. I love what I do.'"

In 1996, L.J. Davis wrote in Mother Jones that Lindner, besides being a "big" Senator Bob Dole backer, "served as a mentor and colleague to two of the best-known financial crooks of our time, Charles Keating and Michael Milken." Lindner was then chair and CEO of Chiquita Brands and Dole, a "frequent flier on Lindner company jets," had been "a vocal critic of trade agreements that cut Chiquita out of the foreign banana market."

Political Contributions & Influence

"Another, financier and Cincinnati Reds owner Carl H. Lindner Jr. has donated more money -- $2.6 million -- to federal candidates, parties and political action committees in the past four years than any other American." [2] Between 1999 and 2002, Lindner made $2,777,000 ($2,030,000 to Republicans; $747,000 to Democrats) in soft money contributions for a total of $3,277,000. [3]

In March 2001, Michael Scherer reported in Mother Jones that in 1998 Carl H. Lindner and his wife Edyth contributed $1,216,000 to the Republican Party.

"Since 1994, Carl Lindner and his Chiquita banana empire have been Exhibit A in the fight to reform campaign finance. Through his insurance company, American Financial Group, Lindner controls nearly 40 percent of Chiquita. And through his millions in campaign contributions to both parties, he has persuaded the nation's top politicians to marshal U.S. foreign policy to fight Chiquita's trade war against the European Union" [4]

Common Cause

Common Cause reported in 2004 that Lindner raised at least $200,000 for President George W. Bush for Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. and contributed $200,000 for the Bush-Cheney inauguration ($100,000 from Lindner and $100,000 from American Financial Group), "double the $100,000 contribution limit (the inaugural committee refunded the excess money, only to have Lindner funnel the money through AFG). During the 2002 Senate elections, Lindner and his family contributed $450,000 to Republicans. In the 2004 presidential campaign, Lindner was one of the first 23 'Rangers' who raised at least $200,000 in bundled contributions for Bush. He hosted a September 2003 fundraiser at his home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill, which raised an estimated $1.7 million for Bush."

In return, Common Cause says, Lindner got: "The World Trade Organization forced European Union nations to open their markets to Chiquita bananas, while Lindner gave substantial financial support to the Democratic Party under former President Bill Clinton and to President George W. Bush. The move by the WTO accelerated a trade dispute between the EU and the United States that, in 2003, threatened to add more than $6 billion in tariffs on U.S. products, including $2.2 billion in tariffs on products manufactured in political battleground states."

Progress for America Voter Fund

In 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records, Lindner contributed $1.5 million to the Progress for America Voter Fund, a 527 committee. [5]

Economic Freedom Fund

On September 21, 2006, Lindner became the 527 committee Economic Freedom Fund's second largest contributor.

Lindner joined former "sole backer" Robert J. Perry, "who founded the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group during the 2004 elections," Rood wrote. [6]

Perry contributed $5 million in seed money and Lindner "ponied up $50,000 to EFF. More precisely, EFF has recorded a $50,000 donation from the same address as Lindner uses in other FEC reports," Josh Marshall wrote October 4, 2006.

Israel

"Lindner, a Baptist, is the biggest non-Jewish buyer of State of Israel bonds, which Israel has used to raise $25 billion for everything from agriculture to shipping to communications," Cliff Peale reported in the May 17, 2005, The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer. "Supporters raised more than $71.5 million" at an event honoring Lindner "for his contributions to one of the signature programs to help the Israeli government, ... including pledges of $10 million from Western & Southern Financial Group and more than $5 million from Lindner and his wife, Edyth."

American Financial Group

"From his seat as chairman and CEO of American Financial Group (AFG), Carl Lindner oversees nearly $20 billion in assets. AFG, which serves as a holding company for the Lindner family’s financial interests – which once included Chiquita Brands International, the world’s largest banana distributor – controls vast insurance operations and real estate across the country. Its holdings include the Great American Insurance Company, Great American Financial Resources, Inc., and Provident Financial Group Inc., which National City Corp. recently bought [2004] in a $2.1 billion stock deal. (That deal is expected to give Lindner and AFG nearly $1 billion in bank stock.) Its real estate holdings include luxury hotels and New York’s Grand Central Station." [7]

Financing Paramilitary Organizations in Colombia

Carl H. Lindner Jr. has also been implicated in the financing of terrorist organizations in Colombia. In fact, the financing began while he was the president of Chiquita Brands' board of directors. [8]

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