Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Everyone is Covering Up the Pension Scandal for Their Own Reasons

Everyone is Covering Up the Pension Scandal for Their Own Reasons

The Comptroller, Media the Candidates for Comptroller

From the NYT: Pension Funds No Barometer for Comptroller Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., a candidate for mayor, collected over $500,000 from money managers *** Bloomberg Campaign Blasts Thompson on Pension Fund

"A review of how the $80 billion system has performed since he took office shows it has consistently lagged behind many of its public pension peers even as the city tripled the number of money managers it uses and the fees that it pays those firms *** In some cases, the executives gave to Mr. Thompson just months before the pension funds hired them to manage tens of millions of dollars, according to interviews and public records. . . Under Mr. Thompson’s predecessor, Alan G. Hevesi, the city’s pension funds outperformed their peers"

“A campaign contribution will not help anyone,” Mr. Thompson said (NYT)

The Facts Tell aA Diferent Story Hevesi Aides Got Kickbacks on Pension Fund Investments, Charges ... * Indicted Alan Hevesi aide Hank Morris' shady dealings stretched ... *** Follow the Pension Money: NY Magazine Hangs Morris, Rattner Richardson Not Involved? * Pension Fund Scandal Expands: Rattner's Ties To Bill Richardson *** N.Y. Attorney General probes Steven Rattner, Obama's outgoing auto ... *** Steven Rattner - $82850 in Political Contributions for 2008 *** Did Auto Czar Steve Rattner Help Scam New York Pensioners ...

The Times Article Makes no Mention of Steve Rattner a Key Player in the Pension Fund Scandal (Written to be a knock on Thompson as part of the NYT continuing effort to reelect the mayor)

"As the city confronts the economic crisis, Mr. Thompson’s oversight of pension investments is a key component of his effort to sell himself as a viable mayoral candidate and a financial expert of equal stature to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire media mogul and Wall Street veteran."(NYT)

Why Rattner not in the NYT article Michael Bloomberg Defends Steve Rattner: “A Great Public Servant ... *** The (Mostly) Charmed Life of Steve Rattner Newsweek Small ... His Relationship with NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Will Steve Rattner save The New York Times? - BloggingStocks ***Steve Rattner and 'Gangster Government' Washington Examiner *** Cold Case File: The Missing Daily News Steve Rattner Maureen White ... *** Rattner: Toxic Conflict of Interest; Is the NYT at Risk? *** Cityfile: How Mort Zuckerman Helped Out a Friend in Need *** Deconstructing Steve Rattner The Big Money *** A Scandal Steven Rattner Couldn't Hide from Barack Obama - steven ... *** David Geffen's Attempt to Help or Buy the New York Times Peter ... he says Geffen made the offer via Steve Rattner, the media banker

From Today's NYT
"During Mr. Thompson’s tenure, the number of money managers for the city’s pension system has risen to 229 last year, from 74 in 2002, nearly all because of newly hired private equity managers. And investment expenses, consisting mostly of fees to money managers, have surged to $310 million from $102 million. Employees of about a quarter of the money management firms have contributed to Mr. Thompson’s campaigns, records show." (NYT)

"Blue Wolf Capital, which was founded by two former high-ranking aides to Mr. Thompson in the comptroller’s office who had helped develop the office’s private equity investment strategy.
Executives of the company donated $9,000 to Mr. Thompson’s campaign in 2007. The following year, three of the pension funds gave the company $60 million to invest. The company, which has earned $500,000 in fees for its work for the city, declined to comment." (NYT)

Not In the NYT Article was what a True News investigation Exposed April 23, 2009 in True News The Wolf at Thompson's Door

"It was reported yesterday in the Times that it was under former top Thompson aide Josh Wolf-Powers’ advisement that Steven Rattner’s private investment firm Quadrangle Group hired the now-indicted Hank Morris as its placement agent. Rattner badly wanted to gain access to investment from the State’s pension fund and according to the Times, “Wolf-Powers told Mr. Rattner that he could not think of any investment firm that had persuaded the city’s pension fund to invest without using a placement agent.” (True News)

"True News has discovered that in 2005, the same year that Wolf-Powers turned Rattner onto Morris, Wolf-Powers left his key position with the City Comptroller to co-found the company Blue Wolf Capital Management with another top Thompson aide, Adam Blumenthal, who served as First Deputy Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer from 2002-2005." (True News)

"In this position, Mr. Wolf-Powers oversaw the process by which the New York City Retirement Systems invested in private equity, economically targeted investments and other securities for which there is not a public market. During his tenure, the New York City Retirement Systems more than doubled their allocation to the private equity asset class, and their commitments to private equity funds, committing over $2 billion to nineteen private equity funds.” (True News)

"According to its website Blue Wolf is particularly well-suited for government procurement work, because “each member of our investment committee has served as a public official.” (True News)

Among Blue Wolf’s other top players are its operating partner Joshua Gotbaum, whose step-mother New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is a trustee of New York City’s Pension Funds, and Mike Musaraca, who before joining Blue Wolf as its managing director, was previously assistant director of the Department of Research and Negotiations with District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). (True News)

"What would Thompson stand to gain from any improprieties orchestrated under his watch? Well, according to a February 2009 article in the Times, after the City Council outlawed campaign contributions from limited liability corporations and partnerships went into effect, Thompson and his fellow Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner quickly collected as much money from LLCs and LPs as they could before the ban went into effect, aggravated good government groups that argued that Thompson and Weiner had undermined the spirit of campaign finance reform. Of the $50,174 Thompson raised, the Times noted one particular contribution to Thompson’s mayoral campaign. “On July 9, 2007, six days after the ban was passed, [Thompson] accepted a $4,950 donation from the investment firm Blue Wolf Capital Management L.L.C. and a $4,050 contribution from its co-founder and managing partner, Adam Blumenthal.” (True News)

Only True News Asked Will the Corruption in the Pension System Happen in the Future Again? What was run into is a wall of The Silence of the Lions: What the Comptroller Candidates Don't Want You to Know On April 29, 2009 we asked each comptroller candidate and the media the following question, we have yet to receive an answer. OUT OF COMPTROLLER, AS SCANDAL SPREADS, CITY COMPTROLLER CANDIDATES LOOK FOR BIGGER ROCK TO HIDE UNDER

Unanswered Questions So, David Yassky, David Weprin, John Liu, and Melinda Katz, let’s start with some basics:

1) Do you think that it is a criminal conflict of interest that Josh Wolf-Powers and Adam Blumenthal left their jobs as Bill Thompson’s top deputies in the Comptroller’s office managing the City’s pension fund to set up the private company Blue Wolf Capital Management, which then secured $70 million in investment for Blue Wolf from the Comptroller’s office? And should Bill Thompson resign as Comptroller for taking almost $10,000 in donations for his mayoral campaign from Blumenthal and Blue Wolf Capital?

2) What is the connection between the growing pension fund scandal in Bill Richardson’s administration in New Mexico that the state’s AG is trying hard to keep a lid on and Andrew Cuomo’s bold investigation into New York’s pension fund scandal? Are you troubled that Deborah Gallegos, the Chief Investment Officer for the City Comptroller in 2005 – the year Wolf-Powers urged Steven Rattner to hire the now-indicted Hank Morris as his placement agent – had come to Thompson’s office directly from New Mexico, where she worked in Richardson’s administration as deputy state investment officer for the New Mexico State Investment Council and was deeply involved in the private investment of billions of dollars of taxpayer money under similar (and suspicious) circumstances to the investigation into New York City’s Comptroller’s office. Are you aware that Richardson, who is being investigated for pay-to-play with New Mexico’s pension funds, also received money from Hank Morris and Steven Rattner?

3) Have you met with Andrew Cuomo to learn more about the pension fund scandal and what you could do to end corruption in the Comptroller’s office? Other than the smoke screen concession of eliminating placement agents enacted by Bill Thompson and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, what would you do to really reform the Comptroller’s Office?

How about doing away with money managers like Carl McCall and Feddy Ferrer Mr. Lui? After Pension Story, Katz Says 'No Excuses,' Liu Says Ban Contributions *** McCall's linked to pension fund mess *** After Introduction From Ferrer, Firm Earned $100000 From State ...

Bums Not Clowns Throw Albany bums out, say nearly half of voters (Crains NY)
8 MILLIONAIRES ON ENRICHED COUNCIL *** PENSION POLS GET PILLORIED Good-government groups yesterday panned a loophole that has allowed several veteran lawmakers to collect their public pensions while collecting legislative salaries *** GROUP RIPS SEX-BUST CANDIDATE *** Paterson has no place to go ... but out *** Dream on Daily News Pols who aspire to NYC public office would leave lucrative careers behind

Worse Run City? Bronx golf boondoggle gets worse From CBS 2 *** LIRR stations losing ticket offices From Fox 5 *** 9/11 memorial group unveils new visitor center *** Cost for rusting ferry could sail higher for taxpayers

Mob Open for Business FROM GOODFELLAS TO STATEFELLAS-the Javits center three years after ... How soon the media forgets DAVE YANKS STATE COPS OUT OF JAVITS

Road to City Hall MIKE LIKES TAYLOR-MADE *** NYT continues its campaign to reelect the NJ gov Candidate for New Jersey Governor Apologizes for Failing to Report Loan *** All candidates for office, except Mayor Bloomberg, started politics as kids *** Play to Pay Party The Working Families Party Scam

Info Not in Bloomberg's Campaign Commerical on how he has improved transit WHEW! RIDERS ARE THISCLOSE TO A DISASTER RAIN OF RUBBLE ON 1 TRAIN *** MTA BOARD OUT OF LOOP *** SECOND AVENUE $UBPAR It's the subway, stupid. It's not the stinking economy that's trashing the bottom lines and leading to layoffs at dozens of businesses on the Upper East Side *** TRANSIT AGENCY FAILS ITS ECO-VOW The MTA isn't going to meet a state order mandating that it uses 20 percent renewable power at 17 of the buildings it owns or leases, according to a new audit by state Comptroller *** More cutbacks Protests Over Closing of Police Day Care Center *** Teacher Confronts Klein Over Hiring Freeze

Washington Slipping Into Quicksand - Monica Crowley, Washington Times *** Astounding Incompetence From the White House - Jonah Goldberg, LAT

Health Care Democrats Seem Set to Go It Alone on a Health Bill *** Senator Moves to Block Medical Ghostwriting Pressure from Washington may force changes in drug companies’ involvement with research papers *** White House waffles on public option *** Obama Health Care Plan Helps Seniors - Mark Gaffney, Detroit News *** Public Betrayal? Obama May Kill Reform w/Compromise - Pittsburgh PG *** How Health Care Got So Expensive - Steven Malanga, RealClearMarkets *** Debate's Path Came as Surprise (Washington Post) *** WATCH: Barney Frank Confronts Woman Comparing Obama To Nazis: "On What Planet Do You Spend Most Of Your Time?" *** Obama on health bill: 'I hope it's bipartisan' (The Hill)

Congress for Sale Opening the Window on Foreign Lobbying *** Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker

Wall Street Mess Feds Ordered Citi To Replace CFO *** Our Dollar Destiny Lies With Congress - Warren Buffett, New York Times *** It's Getting Worse: Unemployment Spike Compounding Foreclosure Crisis *** Under Agreement, UBS to Give Up Over 4,000 Names *** The paradox of purchasing a new GM car (LA Times)

International In North Korea, Clinton Helped Unveil a Mystery *** Is Putin Planning Another Run For President? - Michael Petrou, Macleans *** Baghdad Blasts Hammer City, Kill At Least 75

Media SLOAN DETHRONED STRUGGLING STUDIO MGM PUSHES CEO OVERBOARD *** ZELL'S ESOP FABLE TRIBUNE EMPLOYEES ARE SHORTCHANGED *** The NYT Dowd should really be working for a supermarket tabloid Lust, American Style *** Lawyer and Author Adds His Objections to Settling the Google Book Lawsuit *** Novak: Faith, Freedom & Free-Enterprise - Larry Kudlow, RealClearPolitics *** The Heart of the 'Prince of Darkness' - Howard Kurtz, Washington Post *** A Scruffy, Shoe-Leather Reporter - Eleanor Clift, Newsweek *** Don Hewitt, Creator of ‘60 Minutes,’ Dies at 86 *** What the Newspaper Industry Can Learn From the Adult Entertainment Industry (NY Magazine) *** PoliticsNBC's Health Care Pollster Has Long Ties To Insurance Industry