When is bad news good news? The hack attack on personal financial information of prominent Americans has also distinguished sports figures as wealthy celebrities. Looking at this upside potential may be all that perennial fourth place finishers need to find the extra motivation to win a medal! The English language news service of 2014 Olympics host Russia has published links to personal financial information and credit reports for nearly two dozen distinguished American political, entertainment and sports figures. These were originally published by a gossip site almost no American has heard of, called “Exposed.”
And once again, Examiner.com is ahead of the curve! I published a detailed report about the growing challenges to privacy rights last Wednesday, March 6, in my Los Angeles column. How do I stay a step ahead of the competition? It’s not expensive. I read the online news from Switzerland almost every morning because most international Sports Federations are located there. Swiss readers are very loyal to their home news organizations and that has given them a competitive advantage to do more in depth reporting than budget strapped newspapers that just recycle press releases.
Golf champion Tiger Woods and former Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger were honored by inclusion on this list of distinguished celebrities. The details confirm what most people would expect. Both are wealthy high-net worth individuals who own several multi-million dollar homes and pay off their credit card balances right away.
Golf course developer Donald Trump is also on the celebrity credit A List. Trump Golf owns and operates thirteen of the world’s most prestigious golf courses, from Aberdeen, Scotland to San Juan, Puerto Rico to Palos Verdes, California. Tiger Woods himself just played at the Trump Doral Course last week. This sports success is reflected in Trump’s own ownership of expensive properties and high credit rating. There are other real estate developers who did not follow Trump’s well timed diversification into sports business who lost most of their wealth during the real estate crisis of the last five years.
2002 Olympics CEO and 2012 U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is also on this A List. Romney owns homes in popular sports travel destinations Park City, Utah and La Jolla, California. Local real estate agents tell this to prospective buyers all the time as a good reason to expect rising property values because of Mr. Romney’s well known financial expertise. No one has to hack any website to find out about it.
There is positive information for sports sponsors as well. Snowboard champion Shaun White’s sponsor Target is a favorite shopping destination of former Alaska Governor and celebrated markswoman Sarah Palin, who shops regularly with her Target Credit Card. That looks like a powerful endorsement of Target’s winter sportswear. US Olympic Canoe and Kayak team sponsor Bank of America can also claim to be the trusted credit card issuer of many wealthy celebrities.
Once readers get over the big surprise that almost no information can be trusted to be private in this day and age, there are many inspiring aspects to this information which presents America as a land of opportunity. Sportswear designer Paris Hilton’s credit score is 742 and her credit risk is rated as very low. That’s not bad for a convicted criminal.
Page 27 of Paris Hilton’s credit report has even more illuminating information. It states “You have no public records.” Since Ms. Hilton’s criminal convictions and jail sentences have been reported ad nauseum in the media, that appears to mean that if you are wealthy and famous and live in Los Angeles County, you can have your negative public records deleted. (The technical term is “expunged.”) After all, it is public knowledge that the birth certificate of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s out-of-wedlock son was falsified to name another man as the father and no public employees responsible for the fabrication have been disciplined. The Web URL of the Las Vegas Review Journal’s link to a prior print report about Ms. Hilton’s prior convictions now says “Page Not Found.” Nonetheless, you can still read about it in Canada. Slowly, but surely, the globalization of media is making the elusive goal of transparency a reality.