Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pension fund is Thompson's Achilles heel

The Daily News has a story titled, “Some doubt Mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson can escape pension fund scandal mess

The Village Voice has a story titled, “Thompson's Pension Pals: A Wound waiting to be Re-Opened

And True News has a story Titled, “Wolf at Thompson Door, Part II: Avella Opens a Cut

The stories go on to note that when mayoral candidate Councilman Tony Avella was given the opportunity to pose his opponent City Comptroller Bill Thompson a direct question in last weeks first Democratic debate, he didn’t pull any punches. Avella asked Thompson flat out if he were under investigation for his role in the Pensiongate scandal because two of Thompson’s top deputies left their jobs in the City Comptroller’s office and then promptly set up a private company which received contracts to manage millions of dollars of the City’s pension fund. Avella also pointed that both of those former employees Josh Wolf-Powers and Adam Blumenthal were now major donors to Thompson’s campaign for Mayor.

Thompson denied he was under investigation, but the facts that have come out to date in the newspapers about the Pensiongate scandal cast serious doubt of Thompson’s denial. Wolf-Powers, a former top aide to Thompson, and Blumenthal, who served as First Deputy Comptroller and CFO from 2002-2005, left their jobs at the Comptroller’s office in 2005 to co found the company Blue Wolf Capital Management right after Wolf-Powers rewrote the rules in the Comptroller’s office to ease restrictions on private money managers gaining access to the City’s retirement funds. In the coming years, Blue Wolf Capital received $60 million from the City’s pension funds to invest, yielding Blue Wolf $500,000 in fees. Then Wolf-Powers donated the maximum amount of $10,000 to Thompson’s while Blumenthal gave $4,050 and Blue Wolf Management as a corporate entity donated $4,950.

But Wolf-Powers’ central role in the Pensiongate scandal extends beyond this clear-cut illustration of pay for play between Blue Wolf Management and the City Comptroller’s office. According to a April 21st, 2009 article in the New York Times, it was Wolf-Powers, when he was still working in the Comptroller’s office, who advised Steven Rattner’s private equity firm Quadrangle Group to hire Hank Morris as his “placement agent” if Quadrangle wanted to get the New York City pension fund to invest money with Rattner’s company. The New York Post revealed on April 23rd, 2009 that Quadrangle subsequently received $85 million from the City pension fund to manage and failed to report that it had hired Morris as a placement agent. Morris has since been indicted for his role in the Pensiongate fund scandal and Rattner had to quietly resign his role as President Obama’s “Car Czar” under a growing cloud of suspicion about his involvement with Morris and Wolf-Powers.

After the debate, Avella brushed aside Thompson’s denial, saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. “How can Thompson claim his office is clean, when according to the New York Times, it appears that the Rattner Morris four state pension fund crime spree was launched inside Thompson’s office?” asked Avella. “As soon as the media starts really probing Thompson’s connection to the abuse and theft of hundreds of millions of dollars of City workers’ hard earned money, his campaign is going to unravel in disgrace and Bloomberg will win a third term by default. We, Democrats, have already embarrassed ourselves enough this year with the shameful shenanigans in Albany. We can’t afford to let the City’s Democratic Party crumble in scandal too.”

And with Howard Wolfson waiting to pounce on Thompson with a campaign called, “Kill Bill” the question has to be asked, Can Bill Thompson clear his name before the primary? I do not think he can. So the next question is, do we want to elect him to run against Bloomberg? I believe that Tony Avella is the only person who can beat Bloomberg. If Tony defeats Thompson it would be Bloomberg’s worst nightmare, a candidate that has none of the baggage Bill Thompson has. Tony Avella has the fire and desire to be our Mayor. He would clean up the scandals at City Hall and return decision making to us! Democrats have a big decision on Primary day, Lets make the right one.

Vote for Tony Avella on Primary day. It’s looking more and more like Thompson has no chance to win.


Anonymous said...

They're only picking on him 'cause he's black........................about as black as bryan gumbal.

Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

Thanks for posting. I made a series on the pension catastrophe -- go to Suzannahartist pension catastrophe or Suzannaharist pension in youtube search engine and here is David Yassky one

the key is to go to text portion of my pension youtubes for links -- links to 2 NY Daily News Pieces and 2 NY Times pieces....

The pension scandals splish splash on Thompson, Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg's money manager Steve Rattner all the way to the White House. One NY Daily News article I have linked to states Mike Bloomberg felt Rattner should not have to step down from his job at the White House.

True News, my blog and others kept chattering about Rattner when there was little to no press about him and he did resign from The White House job but he said to spend more time with his family here in NYC.

Wayne Barrett has a new piece in the Village Voice on Mike Bloomberg that touches on Rattner.

Taxpayer said...

Why vote for Thompson and then learn how dirty he really is?

We learned the hard way about how dirty the Commissar is.

Let's take control now, and vote for Tony Avella.

Don't we, our family, and our neighborhood deserve eight years of honest government?

Anonymous said...

No politician can expect to stay in office for more than 1 term without being corrupted.

Voters may also inspect the party policies, which are usually written in disappearing ink.

Anonymous said...

This is the tip of the iceburg in terms of finanical mismanagement and its results being swept under the rug: revenues in some major tax streams are down by 30 PERCENT!

We are getting screwed next year big time when the shit hits the fan and services (as sucky as they are for those of us not living in Brooklyn Heights or the West Side) fall apart and fees skyrocket.

Bloomberg and Thompson have a lot of explaining to do - because God knows the Media Capital of the World will remain silent on it.

Now back to the full and extensive coverage of the US Open.

Anonymous said...

Good work Susan! People, this is Acting Up!

A few more like this, as well as some letters to the editors poking fun at their stupid news coverage would be enough to clear the logjam.

Anonymous said...

This election is not about voting for Thompson. It is always about voting for or against the incumbant and if you want to re-elect him.

Anyone who has ever met Thompson will say he is an intelligent and pleasant man. He is also anti-tax increase, upper or middle class. Can Bloomberg say that?

Anonymous said...

Untrue about being corrupted, Betsy Gotbaum has had office with dignity and she gets punished by the Council and the Mayor for calling them out. A huge advocate against term limits, pork, and council raises. And she is better than all the clowns trying to replace her but didn't run because the public only wants two term maximums.

We'll miss you Betsy, you accomplished something in a useless position!

Anonymous said...

Avella seems to be the best choice for mayor.

Bloomberg bought his office and is attempting to force-feed us a 3rd term through a funnel like a Strassbourg Goose.

Four more years of political pate anyone?

Thompson is owned by the real estate developers...bought and paid for in full.

Anonymous said...

Betsy Gotbaum son works for the firm Blue Wolf Capital Management which got the special pay to play deal from Thompson. It the firm made up of former aids of Thompson. Once they got 60 million in pension funds they contributed the max to Thompson campaign.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Betsy for her adult children.

Anonymous said...

I sure he got the job because his name was Gotbaum and his mother sits on the city's pension funds board. Hey in the real world not corrupt NYC that would be a conflict of interest

Anonymous said...

did wm. thompson return the campaign donations
from norman hsu's straw donor network? did cm liu
return "all of hsu's affiliates tainted money ?liu's haul
was $22,950.00.

some of this money was given to campaign
finance board states this is explicitly forbidden.