For three years from 1995, Tobin Ryan, who is now 47, was a senior manager at Bain & Company, the consulting firm where Mr Romney made his name. Mr Romney was at the time leading Bain Capital, the firm’s investment arm, inside the same Boston headquarters..................
In March 1998, Mr Ryan left Bain to become a vice-president at Imagitas. The company had been co-founded by Tom Beecher, another former Bain consultant. Their company secured the $5 million (£3.2 million) from Bain Capital in June 2000. Mr Ryan declined to say if he was involved in the deal. Mr Beecher declined to be interviewed.
A Bain Capital source said the investment was made by the company's Bain Capital Fund VI. While Mr Romney had by then taken what he called a leave of absence to run the 2002 Winter Olympics, SEC filings state that he remained sole stockholder, chairman, CEO and president of this fund’s two controlling entities. His campaign now claims that he retired "retroactively" in 1999.
Flush with funds, Imagitas quickly expanded. It won contracts with several state governments to produce vehicle registration mail-outs, on which it sold advertising. Five colleagues said that Tobin Ryan had responsibility for this project. “He was my boss’s boss,” said Michael Donovan, the firm’s director of government relations at the time.
Imagitas announced a similar partnership with Massachusetts in July 2002, shortly before Mr Romney was elected as the state’s Republican governor, and just after Tobin Ryan says that he departed the company. Its work for the state continued for several years under Mr Romney’s governorship. His officials boasted that it saved taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Mr Romney’s 2002 financial disclosure form states that he still owned 100 per cent of Bain Capital Investors VI, the fund’s controlling entity, and Bain Capital Inc, their overall parent company. However, the forms did not detail the individual companies, such as Imagitas, in which Bain Capital held investments. New state employees were obliged to prevent conflicts of interest with existing contracts. The following year, he began declaring that his holdings were in a so-called "blind trust" controlled by his lawyer.
Records at the Massachusetts commission of ethics show that Mr Romney did not make filings acknowledging the interest and claiming an exemption, as he was entitled to do.Massachusetts law, then as now, requires office holders divest themselves of interests in private companies doing business with the state.
(h/t Taegan Goddard)