Alan Hevesi, former New York State Comptroller, and his colleague Hank Morris have been indicted for plundering the State pension fund for their own financial gain. One of the questions the public needs answered now is, who knew about this, and what did they do/not do to stop it? Why did newly elected Comptroller Tom DiNapoli suspend his agency's sole audit of the attorney general's office soon after launching it a year ago? DiNapoli spokesman Dennis Tompkins explained as follows: "We had a temporary shift in priorities."
From Betsy Combier:
I pay taxes like anyone else, and yet have no expectation that public officials whom I am paying with my tax dollars are working to protect my best interests or that of my fellow taxpayers. I am baffled as to why New York State voters seem to enjoy putting corruption into the closet by buying papers such as The Daily News. (See The Corruption of Andrew Cuomo Part 1:The Aqueduct Racino Bidding Process)
Would someone please find out what Andrew Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer, New York State's former Attorney General, were doing while Alan Hevesi (also see the article below) and his people were stealing our pension funds? Tom DiNapoli was appointed to take Hevesi's place, and now has won election as the New York State Comptroller. He needs to answer this question as sole trustee for the $129 billion State pension fund, one of the largest institutional investors in the world.
Audit of Cuomo quickly put off
By CASEY SEILER State Editor, Times Union, Saturday, November 6, 2010
ALBANY -- Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office suspended its sole audit of the attorney general's office almost immediately after launching it almost a year ago.
The audit of the attorney general's Civil Recoveries Bureau was, and remains, DiNapoli's only examination of Andrew Cuomo's office since the former assemblyman was appointed to the post in January 2007.
The audit was first reported by the Times Union a week after the customary "engagement letter" was sent to the attorney general's office in December 2009. The Civil Recoveries Bureau is assigned to recover money owed to state agencies through litigation.
"We issued the engagement letter, and shortly after that we suspended the field work," said DiNapoli spokesman Dennis Tompkins.
Asked to explain the reason behind the suspension, Tompkins said, "We had a temporary shift in priorities."
Tompkins would not respond when asked if the attorney general's office had requested the postponement of the audit, which would have been conducted during Cuomo's investigation of the pension fund scandal involving DiNapoli's predecessor, Alan Hevesi. The probe, which at the time was also examining DiNapoli's conduct in office, is ongoing.
"I can't comment on the investigation into the pension fund," Tompkins said.
The attorney general's office failed to answer a request for comment.
The initiation of the audit followed months of often cool relations between DiNapoli, who on Tuesday was elected to a full term, and Cuomo, now the governor-elect. As the pension fund investigation progressed through 2009, Cuomo became vocal about what he saw as the need to curtail the comptroller's "sole trustee" status over the $125 billion Common Retirement Fund. Cuomo has proposed the creation of a 13-member board of trustees including the comptroller as well as appointees of the governor, the attorney general and legislative leaders.
DiNapoli has remained resistant to what he sees as a reduction in the comptroller's constitutional powers that, he argues, could expose the fund to political moves.
Just after the letter announcing the audit was delivered, Tompkins dismissed the notion that the timing of the audit was due to anything other than the comptroller's obligation to conduct examinations across state government. "There is no ulterior motive," Tompkins said in December. " ... This is what we do."
Hevesi resigned in disgrace just weeks after winning re-election in 2006, and pleaded guilty last month to felony corruption after admitting that he had received more than $1 million in campaign cash and luxury trips in exchange for granting investment firms access to the pension fund. His longtime adviser Hank Morris decided to take a plea earlier this week.
Following Hevesi's guilty plea, Cuomo's spokesman took the unexpected step of issuing a statement saying that while matters involving DiNapoli had been examined, he was "not involved in any investigation or matter in this office."
That assurance was seen as a major boost to DiNapoli, whose Republican opponent Harry Wilson had attempted to tie the incumbent to Hevesi's misdeeds.
Tompkins insisted that despite the suspension of DiNapoli's only audit of the attorney general's office, the pension fund scandal doesn't limit the comptroller's fiscal oversight. He said the exam of the Civil Recoveries Bureau is still on the audit plan, although he couldn't say when it would resume. "I don't know the timing of it," Tompkins said.
Reach Seiler at 454-5619 or email@example.com.
Ex-Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleads guilty to felony, drops dime on former advisor
By FREDRIC U. DICKER in Albany and LAURA ITALIANO in New York
New York Post, October 7, 2010
Disgraced former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty to a felony corruption charge today in connection with the huge pay-to-play state pension story -- even ratting out his former longtime political advisor Hank Morris for the first time -- that has rocked the office he once held.
Hevesi, a Democrat, was charged with the felony for receiving a reward for official misconduct in the second-degree.
READ HEVESI'S ALLOCUTION
READ THE CHARGES AGAINST HEVESI
"I deeply regret my conduct and sincerely and deeply apologize to the people of the state of New York." he told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lewis Stone, who will sentence him to as much as four years behind bars to as little as no jail time on Dec 16.
The plea deal includes his cooperating against remaining co-defendants, including Morris.
"Beginning in June 2003 through September 2005, I approved a series of Common Retirement Fund investments totaling $250 million in Markstone Capital Partners, a private equity fund managed by Elliott Broidy. In exercising my discretion as Comptroller to approve these deals, I gave preferential treatment to Markstone and Broidy, who was a friend of mine and political fundraiser for my campaign.
"I also sought to help Broidy in his efforts to market Markstone by encouraging other public pension funds to invest in Markstone," said Hevesi, who wore a black suit and looked somber throughout the proceeding.
Hevesi also surrendered his passport before the hearing, where the former city and state comptroller told the judge about his misdeeds in great detail.
"Broidy and I agreed that Broidy would pay for certain travel expenses on my behalf, and I was aware that Broidy concealed his payment of some of these expenses through the use of charitable organizations and false invoices submitted to the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
"On at least five occasions, between in or about April 2003 and in or about June 2006, I traveled to Israel, and on one occasion to Italy, with Broidy and certain high-ranking officials of the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Pursuant to our agreement, Broidy paid at least $75,000 in travel expenses incurred by myself, other Office of the New York State comptroller officials, and my adult children, in connection with these trips," Hevesi told the judge.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been investigating Hevesi and several of his former top aides including Morris in connection with kickbacks that were paid by investment companies to gain access to the massive state pension retirement fund.
“Alan Hevesi presided over a culture of corruption and violated his oath as a public servant,” Cuomo said in a statement. “He was solely charged with protecting our pension fund, but he exploited it for his personal benefit instead. With his guilty plea, we can now focus on the process of restoring public trust in government."
Morris has been indicted on multiple felonies and several guilty pleas have already been entered including one by former state Liberal Party boss Raymond Harding, a longtime Hevesi friend and advisor.
"During my tenure, as I knew, my paid political adviser and campaign manager Henry 'Hank' Morris arranged for Broidy to enter into a sham consulting agreement with a lobbyist friend of Morris who was also a political supporter of mine pursuant to which Broidy paid or caused to be paid in excess of $380,000 to the lobbyist over a period of more than two years. Markstone, with my knowledge, failed to comply with its obligation to disclose to New York State Common Retirement Fund staff that these payments had been made in connection with the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s investment in Markstone," said Hevesi.
Hevesi resigned in December 2006 after pleading guilty to an unrelated felony charge.
Hevesi controlled the multibillion-dollar pension fund until his resignation when he admitted to using state workers to chauffeur around his wife.
Hevesi ended his remarks by saying that Morris "solicited contributions to my re-election campaign from those doing business with" the retirement fund.
I understood that during my tenure as comptroller, Morris was also a paid placement agent in connection with Common Retirement Fund investments, and that he steered Common Retirement Fund investments to friends and political associates," he said.
David Loglisci, chief investment officer of the state fund under Hevesi, pleaded guilty this past March to a violation of the state’s general business law.
Prosecutors said Loglisci, who has also agreed to cooperate with authorities, had allowed Morris to choose which money managers received alternative investments from the fund.
10/08/2010 8:10 AM
When the F will New Yorkers wake up?
10/07/2010 7:54 PM
Another member of the main crime family in NYS "The DemocRAT Party" pleads guilty to crimes committed while in office. And yet the 'Soldiers" of the crime family will march into the voting booths and vote to put more "Capo's" into office.
10/07/2010 6:49 PM
Just wondering? If he's admitted to all these "kick backs" per se...where is the IRS looking for their fair share + interest and then returning everything except the interest????
Don't we all pay taxes?
10/07/2010 6:17 PM
Vote Republican !
Ex New Yorker
10/07/2010 4:30 PM
Andrew Cuomo stated "With his guilty plea, we can now focus on the process of restoring public trust in government." LMAO! These very same words have been uttered countless times since the days of Tammany Hall and NOTHING has changed! While both political parties are no angels, the Democrats really take the cake when it comes to corruption; witness NY, Chicago, Bell California etc. They wrote the freakin book on corruption, and NY'ers will continue voting for them because Democrats exist by rewarding mediocrity and placating unskilled workers with high paying jobs and benefits.
10/07/2010 3:50 PM
What about his tennure as City comptroller? What went on there?
10/07/2010 1:48 PM
Put the bum in JAIL for the full FOUR YEARS, No Parole, No Early Release!
10/07/2010 1:48 PM
RISE UP my fellow NY'ers...these are CORRUPT POLITICIANS FOR DECADES IN NY STATE...VOTE THESE BUMS OUT!!
THROW OUT PRINCE CUOMO on 11/2...NO MO CUOMO!!
These CLOWNS...Schumer, Silver, Gillibrand, Bloomberg,CUOMO, accidental Governor Patterson,Hevesi,Former disgraceful Gov Spitzer..Senate majority, Assembly majority, etc all are DEMOCRATS my friends! ...Robbing us BLIND for decades and they are PROUD of it!
Prince Cuomo total Fraud & Failure running HUD...$59 BILLION unaccounted for when an AUDIT was performed...
DON'T send CORRUPT CUOMO to Albany folks as he is the leader of DIRTY Politicians!!
10/07/2010 1:41 PM
This is guy, Hevesi, is a slug. But he wasn't by himself. You mean to tell me his deputy didn't KNOW or SUSPECT what was going on. How does he get a pass on this?!!!
No More Mr Nice Guy!
10/07/2010 1:37 PM
HughMcs.........You are correct ! There is no mention of any mandatory jail time in his plea deal . They do however mention that he could do no time at all . There is also no mention of fines or the return of any of the loot . It does mention the name of one particular guy he is going to rat on . Morris will get the real punishment . Hevesi will be rewarded for his invaluable help to the prosecution , His good buddy , Cuomo
10/07/2010 1:07 PM
I think there is a "sweetheart deal" in the making. This prosecution is all about portraying "Prince Andrew" as a shining knight in armor. Everyone knows that he got a job with Clinton due to his father's political influence. Why weren't Hevesi's son's included in the indictment? Where is the investigation going? Have deals been made that if Cuomo gets elected will he give "pardons" to these political fat cats.
10/07/2010 12:45 PM
I sincerely hope this guy gets the kind of hard time he would were he not a white politician. Stick his old behind in Rikers and let those who enjoy older men have some fun.
10/07/2010 12:44 PM
Jail is the appropriate sentence for this corrupt moneysucking parasite. As a previous poster stated, he only regrets getting caught. I seriously doubt he is is even shamed by his criminal behavior. Corrupt politicians of his ilk have done enormous damage to NYS. "Pay to play" is alive and well in New York and there are more Hevesis still out there that need to be caught.
10/07/2010 12:30 PM
So what about Hevesi's two sons (Daniel, a former politician, and Andrew, a current politician)? Are they exempt from prosecution now? Why is Andrew allowed to remain in office?
10/07/2010 12:27 PM
OK friends - what are the odds he gets no jail time?
I say there is a 80% chance he gets no jail time
10/07/2010 12:25 PM
He states: "I deeply regret my conduct and sincerely and deeply apologize to the people of the state of New York."
He meant to say: "I deeply regret getting caught and I wish I was still in the position to screw the find the people of the state of New York."
10/07/2010 12:12 PM
When is Cuomo going to be investigated?
10/07/2010 11:48 AM
Thanks God we have mini-me mario to get tough on crooked politicians. He's goona be such a good governor...the timing couldn't be better for the little sfacim.
fred klein nassau cty ADA
10/07/2010 11:40 AM
karma every thing was good with all the shake downs until i got caught.while pretending to be a good law enforcement officer i was fired for being a gigantic liar and thief.while all along it was me and i put many innocent people in prison for my own greed and ego.i got caught up in my own judge and jury and hang man attitude.
10/07/2010 11:38 AM
This state is amazing. Here you have this thief that has a history of corruption still working in public office. NYS socks the big one. We must leave this skithole.
10/07/2010 11:08 AM
more schemes more corruption it's everywhere just look at the nonprofits stealing like crazy..millions and they are perverts also. I read about the ceo of the leukemia and lymphoma society another child molestor
10/07/2010 11:02 AM
I wonder if he can play a race card like Rangel? oh..wait, he can play the "politician" card!
10/07/2010 10:55 AM
A scrificial lamb for Cuomo's election year altar.
Try all the blood letting you want Andrew. Carl is gonna whoop your azz.
10/07/2010 10:51 AM
Messing around with state workers pension plans is a big NO NO Alan. Anything else is just par for the course of doing political business in NY or any other state. As long as nobody pulls a Michael Vick, you guys should just be fined and "leave" office. Exceptions are the Vito Lopez's and Pedro Espada's. They're just plain thieves and deserve jail time.
10/07/2010 10:41 AM
I'm sure the government employees in charge of billions of taxpayer money used to run Obamacare will be just as honest, lol.
10/07/2010 10:16 AM
Another sad story of the state of our Governments Leaders. Are any of them honest?
10/07/2010 10:03 AM
Hi Alan - remember when you came to Erie County in 2006 and pointed your finger at us and said "we needed adult supervision"?
Interesting how you insinuated that we should just shut up and raise taxes all the while you were padding your pockets and using state resources for your own personal use.
Ah... those must have been to good ol' days when your arrogance ran rampant. So... who needs "adult supervision now" ?
10/07/2010 10:03 AM
10/07/2010 9:55 AM
Another Democratic politician busted for corruption. Shocker!
10/07/2010 9:49 AM
Liberals stealing from Liberals so what? NY will continue to vote for Demonrats anyway so what?
No More Mr Nice Guy!
10/07/2010 9:44 AM
If he is ready to cop-out already he must have plenty to hide , Including a very large stash of money . He must have cut a real nice deal for himself . The kind of deal where he wont do much time and returns very little . Im sure Cuomo took it easy on him . Jimmy Hoffa was convicted of committing the same crimes with the Teamsters pension fund . He lost everything and did 8 years in federal prison . Lets see what happens to this guy .
10/07/2010 9:40 AM
What's amazing is that there has not been any monitoring of State pension funds at all. Don't they get it. Here's the equation:
Any Politician+Power+Unmonitored Funds=Corruption
10/07/2010 9:33 AM
self serving thief. lock 'em all up, asap.
10/07/2010 9:28 AM
Please explain to me why Hevesi and not Steve Rattner, Mike Bloomberg's money manager who pleaded the 5th to the SEC more times than Mike Bloomberg has been mayor? Why did someone finally get out the handcuffs but nothing is happening with the slush fund investigation at City Hall except tax payers' bills for top defense attorneys for Christine Quinn and staff are just getting bigger. In Ari Ronston's article in NYO he lays it out clearly that Bloomberg broke the law not declaring the money he wired to the Independence party and no one has the guts to apply the laws to Bloomberg the way I understand it. It sickens me that the rich and politically connected are above the law. Re: pensions - I have heard they have been grossly mishandled as well as exploited.
10/07/2010 9:24 AM
In case you haven't noticed, corruption runs rampant on BOTH sides of the aisle. The size and scope of the crimes supposedly committed by this politician are miniscule compared to what Obama's predecessor and HIS puppeteer Darth Vader pulled, AND GOT AWAY WITH!
10/07/2010 9:14 AM
Yet another corrupt Democrat.
NYS is a real political sewer filled with Democrat sewer rats.
10/07/2010 9:11 AM
When this creep is being held on Rikers in General Population, then alert the public.Why isn't he going thru the same procedures as all others who are arrested. The double standard has become more blatant and brazen. What a shame.
10/07/2010 9:04 AM
THE DEMS ARE CORRUPT, THEY HAVE BEEN STEALING FROM NY FOR DECADES.
NOV,2...MAKE IT STOP!!!
Joey in LI
10/07/2010 9:04 AM
@Magma, @Shy Dawn, how crooked a politician is simply depends on who's is in power. In 5, 10, maybe 15 years, when there's a different AG, I'm sure we'll see Cuomo in handcuffs. You can't be good at being a politician without being corrupt!
10/07/2010 9:01 AM
Another Corrupt Liberal DemoRat !!! Does anybody really believe that he will serve any Prison Time ??? Yes, he will be made to walk the "Perp Walk " !!! That's it !!! Then he goes home and continues to collect his hard earned NYS pension !!!
10/07/2010 9:00 AM
Please lock him up. Please.
10/07/2010 8:58 AM
Gee what a surprise, another crooked politician.
10/07/2010 8:56 AM
The man needs to go to jail,Too many politicians getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar but, not going to jail. If you do the crime, do the time, period.
10/07/2010 8:51 AM
Ho hum. The Culture of Corruption rambles on.
DON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN!
10/07/2010 8:50 AM
From Betsy Combier:
oh yes, you might say, Andrew Cuomo is ripping apart the pay-to-play in Albany. Really? Giving the rooster the job of picking the hens in the hen house is ridiculous, dont you think? Who is investigating Andrew Cuomo?
Wait until you see how Andrew Cuomo fights his constituents in order to steal their property in his own pay-the-judges-to-play scheme. That's my next article in this very sad series on New York State's new Governor.
Everywhere a ripoff
Saturday, April 17th 2010, 4:00 AM
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's probe of corruption in the state pension fund makes it clearer than ever that Albany is a cesspool of pay-to-play politics.
Two investment firms and three lobbyists agreed to cough up a total of $17 million to the state, the pension fund and federal securities regulators to settle charges that they improperly wangled money from the $129 billion pension fund. Among the key players was President Obama's former car czar Steven Rattner.
The settlements were the flip side of criminal charges that Cuomo has pursued among the inner circle of former Controller Alan Hevesi.
One Hevesi top aide has pleaded guilty, and Hevesi's long-time political consultant Hank Morris stands indicted.
Foremost among the schemers, Morris pocketed tens of millions of dollars as a middleman in pension fund deals overseen by his pal.
It didn't matter whether you were a small startup firm or a seasoned money manager. If you wanted a piece of the pension fund, cutting Morris in on the action was the way to go.
Morris' lawyer brazenly admitted as much in a stunning response to Cuomo's indictment:
"It should come as a shock to no one that 'knowing people' matters, and that individuals with political connections frequently enjoy readier access to government decision-makers than do others."
Ain't that the truth?
When Los Angeles-based money manager GKM hired Morris in 2003, for example, it was a young company with $14 million in assets and "virtually no track record," Cuomo's office says. Morris worked his magic and - presto! - GKM was handling $800 million within two years.
Then there was Rattner, a top Wall Streeter who founded the Quadrangle Group.
When Rattner was angling to win Quadrangle a pension fund contract, he not only paid Morris a cool million but also helped finance "Chooch," a cheesy movie produced by the brother of a top pension fund official.
Cuomo's settlement further reveals that Morris leaned on Rattner to donate to Hevesi's campaign fund, and Rattner responded by hitting up a couple of friends to contribute $25,000 each.
His reward? A $150 million investment from the pension fund.
Quadrangle rebuked Rattner, saying his actions were "inappropriate, wrong and unethical."
Meanwhile, Hevesi's successor as controller, Tom DiNapoli says he has diligently cleaned up the mess he inherited. But at least one smelly deal transpired on DiNapoli's watch.
As the Daily News' Ken Lovett reported last year, DiNapoli more than tripled an investment with a firm called InterMedia after a meeting in his office brokered by lobbyist and former Bronx Democratic boss Roberto Ramirez.
Also apparently in the room was a partner with Global Strategies Group - a lobbying and political consulting firm well known for its high-profile clients, including Eliot Spitzer and Cuomo.
DiNapoli mewls that the confab took place before he changed the rules to ban middlemen and other pay-to-play practices.
So what? As Cuomo's investigation proves beyond a doubt, allowing lobbyists and fixers to come within 100 miles of the pension fund is a recipe for disaster.
DiNapoli shouldn't have needed rules to tell him that.
Mayor Bloomberg defends friend, car czar Steven Ratner, amid pension scandal probe
By Kathleen Lucadamo, DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
Thursday, April 23rd 2009, 1:33 PM
Mayor Bloomberg defended his buddy Steven Rattner Thursday, saying he shouldn't give up his federal car czar post while investigators probe his firm's involvement in an exploding pension scandal.
"I can tell you going back a long ways with this guy, he is scrupulously honest and a great public servant," Bloomberg told reporters.
City ethics lawyers last year cleared the way for Rattner's Quadrangle group to manage the mayor's personal fortune and philanthropy assets year after Bloomberg asked for more flexibility in his investments.
The private-equity firm is being probed by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for paying fees to secure investments by the city pension funds without disclosing the fees.
Rattner has not been charged with any wrongdoing in the expanding probe, which also includes Quadrangle's role in pay-for-play involving the state pension fund.
Placement fees are legal unless companies are forced to pay a particular firm in exchange for business.
A top associate of Alan Hevesi, who served both as city and then state controller, has been indicted in the scandal.
That associate, Hank Morris, was employed by a firm that collected millions in placment fees.
Critics have called on Rattner to step down from his position as President Obama's pointperson to bailout the auto industry until the investigation is complete.
"From what I can tell and what the authorities have said...he and his company did nothing wrong," said Bloomberg.
"If that's the case, there would be no reason to deprive the country of a very smart guy who is willing to devote himself to public service," he added.
Bloomberg said the decision is ultimately up to the president, adding "I really shouldn't weigh in, he is a friend of mine."
The Obama team has so far backed Rattner, saying he hasn't been accused of wrongdoing and that he alerted them about the investigation.