OneUnited Bank chairman had brushes with the law
The chairman and chief executive of OneUnited Bank, a Boston-based African-American owned bank that is at the center of a congressional inquiry, was arrested several years ago and charged with drug possession in California, though the charges were later dropped, several media outlets have reported.
The chairman and chief executive, Kevin L. Cohee, was also arrested in 2007 after a woman alleged that he had forcibly sodomized her; the assault charge was not pursued by prosecutors.
Cohee told the Boston Herald that the arrest was "utter and complete nonsense that went nowhere."
The drug case against Cohee was dismissed after Cohee completed a drug diversion program, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Earlier this week, the Ethics Committee of the US House or Representatives released a report that charged US Representative Maxine Waters with three ethics violations for helping OneUnited Bank secure a meeting with US Treasury officials and $12 million in bailout funds in late 2008, a recent Globe story noted.
The report alleges that Waters, a 10-term Democrat representing Los Angeles, helped an institution in which her husband held stock once worth $351,000, and that was at risk of failing without a cash infusion from the federal bank bailout program. The value of those shares had plummeted by half, to $175,000, as the financial crisis mounted and the bank lost millions of dollars invested in the mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
A Globe story from April 2009 noted that bank perks that were targeted by regulators were a $6.4 million beachfront mansion in Santa Monica, Calif., that Cohee used while in California and a Porsche SUV he drove on company business in Boston.
As ordered by regulators, the car has been sold and the bank is no longer paying for the house, which Cohee said at the time that he was selling.
Cohee said the house and car were necessary for conducting business - and modest compared with the jets and fleets of vehicles that larger banks often have.