In December 2012, a US-based company called VCS Mining wins one of the first two gold-mining permits issued by the Haitian government in more than 50 years. The mining project is heavily criticized by Haitian politicians who call it a potential environmental disaster and a waste of resources. Its permit is put on a hold due to the backlash.
In October 2013, Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham is added to VCS Mining’s advisory board. Rodham is rewarded with stock options in the mining company that will vest if the mine is successful. Both Rodham and VCS Mining chief executive and president Angelo Viard later claim that Rodham was added to the board after a chance meeting at the previous year’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual conference. Both also claim that Rodham’s involvement with the mining company has nothing to do with the political power of the Clintons in the US or in Haiti. (Bill and Hillary Clinton are widely seen as leading the reconstruction effort since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.) Rodham used to work as a repo man, prison guard, and private detective, but has more recently worked for an investment firm. (The Washington Post, 3/20/2015)
In March 2016, the New York Times will report that many in Haiti see Rodham’s involvement in the mining company as him taking advantage of his sister’s political influence for personal profit. (The New York Times, 3/14/2016)
One week after the Times article that suggested Clinton could be hurt politically by the connection, VCS Mining will announce that Rodham has stepped down from the board due to company “restructuring.” (VCS Mining, 3/21/2016)