Presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday he was unaware that his former employer, Fortress Investment Group, was involved in the type of predatory lending he has criticized in his campaign:
Fortress hired Edwards as an adviser in October 2005, nearly a year after his losing campaign as Democratic vice presidential candidate. At the time, it owned a major stake in Green Tree Servicing LLC, which rose to prominence in the 1990s selling subprime loans to mobile-home owners and now services subprime loans originated by others.
Fortress and its partners bought Green Tree in 2003. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in April, its holding in Green Tree was as high as $492.4 million at the end of 2005 -- 4 percent of Fortress's holdings at the time.
Subprime loans target people with poor credit histories and charge higher interest rates.
Fortress Investment Group is the parent company of GateHouse Media, which owns The Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Big Nickel, and the Neosho Post in the Joplin area.