Thursday, March 21

Kickbacks to state employees in California. MSM yawns.

For those in flyover country, CALPERS is the huge state-run retirement system for state employees in California. It's charged with investing and monitoring something like $285 Billion in the state's pension fund.

Three days ago a former member of the fund's board of directors--one Alfred R. Villalobos--was indicted by the fed dept of Injustice, along with a former CEO of the fund--Federico Buenrostro. Between 2005 and 2009 a company owned by Villalobos was paid $48 Million by a single investment management firm, to secure the placement of $3 billion in Calpers funds with that company.

Again, the guy collected $48 mill from a single firm, to "place" Calpers funds.

Can you say "pay to play"?

For example, the LA Times reported that Villalobos also collected at least $12 million in additional placement fees during that period from other investment funds that managed Calpers money. Any bets that he really collected ten or 20 times that amount that they just haven't discovered yet?

But hey, where's the harm, right? I mean, the constitution of California doesn't specifically prohibit a state fund manager from taking kickbacks...uh, sorry, "placement fees"--to direct state funds to companies that pay him?

Oh, well, there is that little matter of Villalobos giving tens of thousands of dollars in "gifts" to CEO Buenrostro while the latter was still head of the agency.  But that's hardly anything at all.  And they were gifts, so it's not like it was explicitly prohibited.

I mean, hey, that's the excuse Obama's ICE director used for why his agency released repeat DUI aliens from ICE custody without so much as a wink, so it must be a sound reason.

A lawsuit filed in 2010 by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown alleges Villalobos took Buenrostro and another CalPERS board member to London, Dubai and Hong Kong, paid for by Villalobos.  The suit also claims Villalobos promised Buenrostro a job with his group and a free condo in Lake Tahoe after he left Calpers--promises he delivered one day after Buenrostro retired.

Read more here:

Villalobos was not just an excellent "placer," he also excels at defensive law:  When this started coming to light he quickly filed for bankruptcy, with all his companies.  At the time the bankruptcy petition was filed the assets of this former state employee included a Lake Tahoe mansion and 15 other residences, 21 bank accounts, a fleet of luxury automobiles, artwork and a collection of French wine.

The bankruptcy also had the serendipitous effect of temporarily staying a lawsuit filed against him by Calpers--which presumably would have revealed a lot of incompetence or corruption, and certainly would have involved lots of messy sworn testimony under cross-examination.

Very clever of him to know how that could all be put on extended hold.

But seriously, click on the link if you want to be chilled. And recent history suggests that if the two are convicted of anything, they'll simply do a few months at Club Fed and pay back a fraction of what they "earned." No penalty for offering bribes to a govt employee--and certainly no penalty when a govt employee accepts one.

Besides, if you're a Democrat, there are different standards.  For example John Corzine--a huge Dem "bundler" and former senator and gov of a key Dem state--hasn't ever been indicted after billions in supposedly segregated investor accounts at his firm simply "vanished."  Not "became worthless due to collapse of the company they were invested in," but merely..."vanished."

I like that defense.  Very innovative, very trendy.  Very...Alinsky-esque.

But heaven help you if you take a pic of your ten-year-old holding a *gun*.


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