Rattner Mum On Pay-to-Play; White Settles With Cuomo: CORRECTED

I was eager to read the rather long Q&A with Steve Rattner in the New York Times Dealbook today.

Would Rattner, who is pitching his new book, say something about the pay-to-play scandal that’s engulfed him for over a year? The NY Times is his former employer.  I would settle for just a hint or even a “no comment” from the co-founder of the Quadrangle Group. But there was nothing. (CORRECTION: And that’s what we got. Rattner said the fund scandal was an unresolved legal matter and didn’t comment.)

There were some interesting bits about why Rattner left journalism (he realized he wasn’t an elegant writer), how GM is very bureaucratic, and whether Chrysler should be saved. There’s even a section about why Rattner wears khakis (he hates the feel of wool on his skin). Well, okay then.

While Rattner isn’t talking, there is some recent news on the pay-to-play scandal. Bill White, the former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, has agreed to pay $1 million to end an investigation into his role in the scandal. White became affiliated with Ariane Capital Partners, which provides fundraising services to PE funds, in July 2004, according to a settlement agreement.

But White wasn’t licensed (he actually wasn’t licensed by FINRA until December 2007). This didn’t stop White from brokering investments worth more than $500 million with the New York State Common Retirement Fund on behalf of firms that paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement reported by Bloomberg.

The state pension fund, valued at $124.8 billion, should be safeguarded for taxpayers but instead was “served up to fixers, finders, and fundraisers like Bill White, who used his access to fill his pockets,” Cuomo said last week at a conference.

Ariane Capital said it received a subpoena from Cuomo in 2007. “ACP cooperated fully with the Attorney General’s request for information, and it has not had any further involvement with this investigation since 2007,” the firm said in a statement Monday.

(CORRECTION: The headline that appeared on the original version of this story incorrectly implied that the Q&A itself ignored the pay-to-play scandal. It didn’t. However, Rattner declined to comment on the scandal.)