WASHINGTON -- A New Jersey congressman earned at least $50,000 on his investment in a home-state mutual thrift that converted to stock form, Roll call newspaper reported this week.
There is no suggestion that Rep. Robert G. Torricelli, D-N.J., received special treatment in the 1992 initial public offering. Regulators and lawmakers have roundly criticized the deals as bonazas for thrift insiders.
Rep. Torricelli could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
He does not sit on the House Banking Committee, which held hearings on mutual thrift conversions in January. The Senate Banking Committee followed with hearings in February, and regulators have since tightened their rules on conversions.
Depositors are granted subscription rights for stock ahead of the general public in conversion deals. But Rep. Torricelli's 1992 financial disclosure forms do not show he was a First Savings depositor. He may have had an account there with less than $5,000, which he would not have been required to report, according to Roll Call.
Rep. Torricelli bought between $100,000 and $250,000 of stock in Perth Amboy, N.J.-based First Savings Bank on July 10, 1992, when it went public. Also in 1992, the lawmaker took out a business loan of between $100,000 and $250,000, Roll Call reported.
First Savings' stock was sold at $10 per share, and the offering was oversubscribed. As in many such deals, the stock price has since increased significantly.
Adjusted for two 10% dividends, the stock that he originally purchased at $10 was worth $33.58 per share as of Monday. Shares were last traded Monday at $27.75, according to Charlottesville, Va.-based SNL Securities, a bank research and publishing firm.
Rep. Torricelli told Roll Call that he had sold some of the shares in 1993 and some this year, but refused to say how many. That makes it difficult to predict what his stake in the thrift is worth. SNL estimated that today, his original purchase would be worth between $336,000 and $840,000 if he still held all the shares.
First Savings' president and chairman, Joseph Yewaisis, did not return phone calls seeking comment.