Sunday, January 24, 2010

Steve Ratner Pension Mess

As Reported in True News
Steve Rattner the Untouchable

Who's Afraid of Steve Rattner? Everyone?

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Whose Guarding the People's Pensions?

Everyone is Covering Up the Pension Scandal for Their Own Reasons

bloomberg pensionMess

The Wolf at Thompson's Door

True News: Wolf at Thompson Door, Part II . Avella Opens A Cut

Who Rob the People's Pensions

Nobody Asked Me, But . . . True News was First Before the Daily News Again Mayor Michael Bloomberg tears into rival Bill Thompson on pensions In this article the Daily News took credit for Bloomberg atacking Thompson on the pension funds because the paper said the mayor was responding to DN article that was written the day before that showed Thompson taking $158,000 from pension fund middlemen who won more than $2.2 billion in business with the city. On April 21, 2009 True News wrote The Wolf at Thompson's Door which exposed how Thompson was getting campaign contributions from former managers of his pension who after leaving his office became money man and received tens of millions from his office the same pension funds that they reorganized Thompson Pensions funds to make it more available to money manager type deals. Since that April story True News has written over a dozen stories about how Thompson has abused the pension funds offering many important leads that have not been follow up by the other papers or the campaigns. From True News "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.” Josh Wolf-Powers was his aid who left Thompson office and formed his own company and recieved pensions funds from the comprtoller. On August 18 the NYT reported that one quarter of the money Thompson raised came from people who do business with his office. On June 3 the Village Voice Robbins wrote how campaign consultants closed to Thompson not only acted as money managers with the city's pension funds but gave campaign contributions to the City Comptroller. The journalist culture which thinks they are the center of the world until your paper prints the story is elitist and in this new emerging Internet world factually wrong Pension middlemen gave $158K to Bill Thompson's campaigns and got $2.2B in city business *** Does anyone believe that dysfunctional Albany does not rig every major big with a contractor? Gov's casino flip stirs fears of rigging (Dicker NYP) There's growing fear that Gov. Paterson is manipulating the bidding process for the long-delayed, multibillion-dollar contract for a massive video-lottery casino at the Aqueduct Race Track *** How does Squier Knapp Dunn communications which has received many of Bloombergs millions get the voters to turn out in a dull mayoral campaign? After spending 65 million Squier has failed to get Bloomberg positive numbers to increase. In the debate this week Thompson will be fighting for his life - Term Limit extension, developers taxes and parking tickets pushing the middle class out. Squier will be trying to paint Bloomberg clam and in charge. This might not be the best debate Strategy to make sure voter turn out which has been in the single digits in the 2009 primary and runoff, reaches the 45% to 50% where experts believe Bloomberg will be easily elected. The non religious Jewish vote is a real question inside the Squier war room *** In New York with a 10% plus unemployment rate Stimulus is not about creating jobs its about paying off the UFT and their members in an election years $1B ed. 'waste'Few new stimulus jobs at DOE (NYP)

Follow the Pension Money: NY Magazine Hangs Morris, Rattner Richardson Not Involved?

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House Republicans want investigation of Rattner's handling of Delphi

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington -- Two Republican members of Congress want an investigation into the conduct of former Obama auto czar Steve Rattner.

In a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, and Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., urged the committee to investigate Rattner's conduct.

Rattner, who headed the Obama auto task force from February until July 2009, "has been implicated in an alleged 2005 kickback scheme involving New York State pension funds through his role as a co-founder of the Quadrangle Group investment firm."



The letter quotes reports as saying Rattner was involved in the "scheme" to steer payments in exchange for a state investment contract.

Earlier this month, Quadrangle agreed to pay $12 million to federal and state authorities to settle the matter. Quadrangle issued a statement criticizing Rattner.

"We wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner. ... That conduct was inappropriate, wrong and unethical," the company said.

The investigation calls "into question the integrity and objectivity of Mr. Rattner's panel, particularly the decision to allow some Delphi Corp. retirees, including many salaried retirees, to lose their pension benefits through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation while simultaneously protecting the benefits of other Delphi retirees."

In an interview, Rogers said salaried retirees were treated "horribly."

"It was completely unfair how they were treated," he said. "We need to ask some really hard questions about how this happened."

Jenny Rosenberg, a spokeswoman for the committee chairman, Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., said he had no immediate comment.

Dozens of Congress members have sharply criticized the disparate treatment of Delphi's hourly and salaried retirees.

Earlier this month, 12 members of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. questioning whether the company was being unduly influenced by its government owners -- and cited Delphi as an example.

Last July, Delphi abandoned its pension plans in bankruptcy covering 70,000 people, saddling the PBGC with a $6.2 billion liability.

Some of the company's salaried retirees will receive up to a 70 percent cut in the value of their pensions because the PBGC has limits on the amount it can insure.

The average retiree losing pension benefits will see about $850 a month cut, but some will not see any cut.

GM agreed to "top off" the pensions of most of Delphi's hourly retirees at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Members of Congress have unsuccessfully sought records relating to the task force's decisions to allow the different treatment.

"Many Delphi retirees will lose significant portions of their promised pension benefits while others will be kept whole. This is unfair and unjust," Rogers and Lee wrote.

Delphi emerged from bankruptcy in October after it eliminated retiree health care and life insurance for salaried retirees.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Meg Reilly declined to comment and Rattner didn't return a message seeking comment.

Rattner works for Bloomberg's Non Profits Organizations

Rattner clams up Ex-car czar took fifth 'many times' with SEC: mag (NYP) Former car czar Steve Rattner was mum on several occasions last year when the Securities and Exchange Commission interviewed him under oath about his role in the messy New York State pension "pay to play" scandal, according to an upcoming report. Rattner, the founder of Quadrangle Group, a private-equity firm, has been implicated in a kickback scheme that paid bribes to a middleman in return for his fund receiving wads of investment cash from New York's robust $140 billion public pension fund.(NYP) * Kelly: Mayor's Frequent Flier (WSJ) * NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly took five free trips to Florida on Bloomberg’s private jet last year, the value of which, according to Kelly, are “unknown”.

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