The reported host of a private $50,000-a-plate fundraiser that has come to haunt Mitt Romney this week is a prominent Florida private equity manager who has attracted media attention for partying with the rich and famous.
Marc J. Leder, the co-founder of Sun Capital Partners of Boca Raton, Fla., was named by Mother Jones journalist David Corn Monday night as the host of a Romney fundraiser May 17 that was secretly videotaped by an unidentified attendee. Romney has come under fire for remarks at the event in which he dismissed the "47 percent" of Americans who support Obama as "victims" who are "dependent on government" and "who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it."
Leder, who has given nearly $300,000 to Romney and other Republicans this cycle, used part of his fortune to become a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and has become a fixture of New York tabloid reports, hobnobbing with rap mogul Russell Simmons and other celebrities. The New York Post dubbed him a "private equity party boy."
In August 2011, the same tabloid reported on a Hamptons bacchanal at a $500,000-a-night oceanfront mansion rented by Leder, "where guests cavorted nude in the pool and performed sex acts, scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms and men twirled lit torches to a booming techno beat."
Leder, described in press reports as a divorced father of three, later dismissed such reports as exaggerated in an interview with the New York Times. “I think the portrayal of me as having wild and crazy parties is absolutely incorrect,” he said in January. “I spend a small percentage throwing some parties, attending some parties. I like music. I like to dance. But rather than reporting on how I spend 340 days and nights of my year, the media likes to report on the other 25.”
Leder has given $225,000 to Restore Our Future, a super PAC that has spent more than $50 million on ads to boost Romney in the primary and general elections. A co-founder of Sun Capital Partners, Leder has also given more than $60,000 to Romney's campaign and other Republicans and about $10,000 to Democrats during the 2012 election cycle, disclosure records show.
The Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel reported at the time that the May 17 Romney event at Leder's Boca Raton home was a $50,000-a-plate dinner.
Deputy Editor, National Politics