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Five Firms Settle in AG's Pension Probe

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has obtained five more cash settlements in his probe of alleged corruption at the state pension fund. One of those settlements could increase the pressure on a prominent businessman with ties to the Democratic Party and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Steven Rattner founded the Quadrangle investment firm in the year 2000. He left the firm last year to become President Obama's "car czar."

On Thursday, Quadrangle distanced itself from its founder, calling his conduct "inappropriate, wrong, and unethical."

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says in 2003, Rattner hired a middleman with political connections to arrange investment opportunities with the state pension fund.

In a statement to the political blogger Ben Smith, Rattner says he disagrees with Cuomo's characterization of events.

But Cuomo says kickbacks were an accepted part of the culture at the pension fund.

"It's been going on for a long time. Everyone does it. Everyone knows about it. And no one does anything about it," he says.

In the settlement, Quadrangle paid a combined $12 million to New York State and the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid all legal jeopardy. But the deal does not protect Quadrangle founder Rattner.

Rattner's role is a touchy subject for Mayor Bloomberg. Quadrangle managed a big chunk of the mayor's personal fortune until earlier this year.

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