Steve Mnuchin, the former second-generation Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood film financier, already made his political name when Donald Trump named him his national finance chair two months ago. But now Mnuchin appears to be in line for a much bigger post — Treasury Secretary — should Trump ascend to the Oval Office.
Trump plans to pick Mnuchin for the post if the real estate magnate beats Hillary Clinton this fall, according to a report Tuesday in Fortune.
The appointment would be a career-capping coup for the son of another Goldman Sachs banker and New York arts patron, Robert Mnuchin, but it’s certain to also renew questions about the younger Mnuchin’s background, including his brief dalliance with Relativity Media, the Hollywood mini studio that is still struggling to right itself after bankruptcy.
Mnuchin served briefly last year as co-chairman of Relativity, the entertainment concern founded by Ryan Kavanaugh. At the time he helped head Relativity, Mnuchin was also chair of Pasadena-based OneWest Bank, which managed to sweep more than $30 million out of the accounts of Relativity, not long before the entertainment company filed for Chapter 11 protection in July of last year. . That raised questions of whether Mnuchin’s dual roles, atop the bank and the mini-studio, created a conflict of interest.
The Mnuchin pick could be controversial, in part because of Mnuchin’s connection to Relativity and OneWest and its successor bank, CIT, which bought OneWest last year. Both OneWest, previously IndyMac, and CIT struggled with risky mortgange loans and had to be reorganized after the financial crisis. Notoriously press-shy, the executive endured 2011 protests on the lawn of his Bel Air mansion by foreclosed homeowners angered at his lender’s handling of soured mortgages.
Fortune reported Tuesday that another Trump backer, hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci, identified Mnuchin as the expected GOP nominee’s Treasury boss. Trump reportedly shared his likely choice with a group of prospective donors recently in the Hamptons.
While Trump and Mnuchin are frends, some viewed the financiers connection to the real estate magnate as a bit problematic, since Trump had previously sued Goldman Sachs over a building deal. Mnuchin has said in an interview that his relationship with Trump survives any business disputes. The financier is known in Hollywood for forming Dune Capital Management and partner with producer/director Brett Rather and with James Packer the Australian magnate and their RatPac entertainment. The company has helped finance movies like “American Sniper” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”