Judging by the number of voicemails and emails I’ve gotten this morning (including from my own colleagues), it seems that the New York kickback scandal has finally broken through as a mainstream media story. All it took was for Steve Rattner to be specifically tied to the scummery, which the New York Times did this morning.
We already knew that Rattner had at least a tangential relationship to the mess, given that Quadrangle Group — the firm he ran before joining the Obama Administration — was among the private equity firms to have used Hank Morris as a “placement agent.” Moreover, we noted that: (a) Quadrangle also had retained the reputable Monument Group as a placement agent, raising questions as to why it also paid Morris, and (b) Quadrangle was completely left out of a New York AG office press release announcing the original indictments. Our initial speculation was that the omission was political — Andrew Cuomo not wanting to annoy either Obama or Michael Bloomberg (who tapped Quadrangle to manage his billions) — but perhaps it was simply about not drawing too much attention to the next shoe to drop.
To be clear, there have been no charges made against either Rattner or Quadrangle. However, the NYT identifies Rattner as the private equity executive detailed in a recent SEC complaint, whose activities included meeting with Dacid Loglisci (ex-NY Common Fund CIO now uner indictment) about a god-awful film Loglisci was helping to produce. Moreover, a Quadrangle portfolio company agreed to buy video distribution rights to the film in the midst of Quadrangle’s fund-raising. Rattner apparently told “placement agent” Hank Morris about the arrangement, and NY Common Retirement Fund made a $100 million commitment to Quadrangle three weeks later.
More on this later today, although it will be kinda tough because I’m in Chapel Hill for VCIC… In the meantime, go here for all our past coverage of the situation.