Ex-Car Czar Said to Settle With S.E.C. in Pension Case

Steven Rattner, the former car czar, has agreed to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over kickback claims involving the New York State pension fund, a person with knowledge of the negotiation said Wednesday.

Mr. Rattner will accept a multiyear ban from the securities industry and pay a fine of more than $5 million, the person said. He is still in negotiations over a similar settlement with the office of the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo.

The settlement, which is expected to be announced on Thursday, caps a multiyear investigation by the government into kickbacks paid to officials with New York’s pension fund. Earlier this month, Alan G. Hevesi, the state’s former comptroller, pleaded guilty to a corruption charge involving the state fund.

The Quadrangle Group, the private equity firm co-founded by Mr. Rattner, settled with the S.E.C. and Mr. Cuomo’s office in the spring and disavowed Mr. Rattner’s conduct in a statement. The firm agreed to pay $7 million to the pension fund and $5 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Rattner refused a similar offer to settle with the S.E.C. last spring, because he did not want to accept the ban from the industry. Quadrangle had been cooperating in the government’s investigation of Mr. Rattner. Since leaving his post with the Obama administration’s auto task force over a year ago, Mr. Rattner has been advising Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York on his personal finances and writing a book about his tenure as car czar. That book, “Overhaul” was released last month.

A spokesman for the S.E.C. declined to comment.

The accusations against Mr. Rattner settle on his agreement to help finance a low-budget film called “Chooch” that was being produced by a brother of David J. Loglisci, the chief investment officer of the state’s pension. One of Quadrangle’s private equity funds owned a company called GT Brands that distributed movies and Mr. Rattner used that company to complete the deal. Mr. Loglisci pleaded guilty to securities fraud in March.

The pension investigation had focused on allegations that friends and aides of the Mr. Hevesi reaped millions of dollars from investment companies seeking state business. Mr. Hevesi resigned in 2006 after pleading guilty to a felony related to his use of state workers to chauffeur his wife. Quadrangle has acknowledged paying more than $1 million in fees to a political consultant, Henry Morris, in exchange for his help in landing a state investment contract. Mr. Morris was a longtime aide to Mr. Hevesi.

Mr. Rattner organized those payments, according to the attorney general’s office, which said that he also arranged for GT Brands to distribute the low-budget film.

Mr. Rattner and his wife are prominent donors to the Democratic party. Mr. Rattner was an investment banker at Lazard before he co-founded Quadrangle in 2000. Early in his career, Mr. Rattner worked as a reporter for The New York Times.

Source: New York Times

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