Monday, May 11, 2009

California Pension Scandal: The Undisclosed Father of Placement Agents & Other "Pay To Play" Tales

I had a request to re-post these two items from an anonymous L.A. Daily Blog reader because they feel more people are reading and paying attention now, and doesn't just want a post in the comment section. Since this is at least very well written, and more people are reading and paying attention.

by LA Daily Blog Reader

The press is missing the boat on the incestuous relationship between Wetherly Capital, DAV Wetherly, Dan Weinstein, Vicky Schiff, Richard Ziman, Peter Borges, Rexford Industrial, American Value Partners (AVP), and Arden Realty. Wetherly Capital and its owners Weinstein, Schiff, Borges, and Ziman are deeply embroiled in the New York, New Mexico, Los Angeles, and possibly nationwide (Connecticut and others) pension fund scandal involving placement agents. The New York and Federal indictments state that Wetherly shared placement fees with indicted Hank Morris around the country including, New Mexico, California, and Los Angeles.

Although only listed as a technical advisor on the website and claims to be unpaid, the brains, brawn and political influence behind Wetherly is Los Angeles real estate magnate Richard Ziman. It is clear that Richard Ziman, the founder and seed capital of Wetherly, Rexford, AVP, and Arden, is the Godfather controlling the strings of his puppets. As a founder and co-owner of Wetherly Capital and DAV Wetherly, it is shocking that Ziman has raised millions of dollars for his AVP and Rexford funds.

Ziman together with his “CAPO” Dan Weinstein have, for many years, donated and bundled large amounts of campaign contributions and have close relationship with top elected officials across the Country, including, the Clintons, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Former California Governor Gray Davis, former California Controller Steve Westly, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, disgraced New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, former California Treasurer Phil Angelides, Mayor Villagrosa, and many others. Daphna and Richard Ziman open their Beverly Hills mansion countless times a year for political candidates, many of whom wield power and influence critical to Wetherly’s success as a placement agent.

Ziman, Weinstein, Schiff, and Borges have often used their political influence and their Wetherly platform to raise billions of dollars from public pension funds around the country. In so doing, they collected untold tens of millions of dollars in placement fees.

It is well known that current Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier use to work for Frank Borges (former Connecticut Treasure Frank Borges founded Landmark Private Equity Fund sometime after leaving office). Frank and Denise have maintained a very close relationship over the years. Because of this relationship, Peter Borges, Frank’s brother and co-owner of Wetherly Capital, DAV Wetherly, and AVP, has been able to reap untold millions of dollars in placement fees by introducing funds to Connecticut.

To be clear, Peter Borges is a placement agent. His brother Frank is past Treasurer of Connecticut. Denise Nappier worked for Frank. Peter Borges is not only a placement agent but is an owner of a real estate fund of funds named American Value Partners (AVP). In addition, the Godfather, Richard Ziman, has an ownership interest in all the people and companies involved. Wetherly counts among its significant clients the following:

1. Arthur Levine and his partner Lauren Leichtman of Levine-Leichtman Capital Partners; 2. Henry Cisnero of City View; 3. Tony Ressler and John Kissick of Ares Capital; 4. Tony Ressler’s brother, Richard Ressler of CIM; 5. Roy Disney and Stanley Gold Shamrock; 6. Brad Freeman, US Ambassador Ron Spogli and William Wardlaw of Freeman & Spogli; 7. Gerry Pasky of Aurora Capital; and 8. Richard Ziman, Vicky Schiff, and Peter Borges of American Value Partners.

by LA Daily Blog Reader

Long time Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension Plan board commissioner Sam Diannitto is founder and president of the Public Safety Employees Pension and Benefits Conference, which he founded in 1985. This Conference bills itself as the premier forum bringing together pension administrators, trustees, union leaders and representatives of the financial community to discuss issues related exclusively to retirement and other benefits for public safety employees. The Conference is affiliated with the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), which hosts seminars and conferences around the country throughout the year.

Mr. Diannitto used his power and influence as a commissioner to pressure fund managers, attorneys, lobbyists, placement agents, and others to financially support his conferences. A review of the agenda for the 2008 NCPERS Public Safety Employees Pension & Benefits Conference indicates that the corporate sponsors and speakers are a who’s who of those seeking business from the pension fund. This includes law firms, accountants, investment managers and research firms. How many of these sponsors received business from the pension fund? Probably most of them.

Moreover, was Diannitto lining his and his family members’ pockets to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, in a blatant violation of not-for-profit laws, Los Angeles City ethics, and a breach of his fiduciary responsibilities?
Through the years Diannitto, who has served on the LAF&P Board for over twenty-five years, has been alleged to be using his position and power as a commissioner to influence entities and fund managers doing business with the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles pension funds.

This influence pending was all done with the knowledge and complicity of the former general manager Gary Mattingly, current General Manager Michael Perez, Assistant General Manager Laura Guglielmo, and CIO Tom Lopez.

How much money has Commissioner Diannitto and his family profited from his position on the LAF&P Board? Commissioner Diannitto needs to answer this critical question.

LA DAILY BLOG ASKS FOR YOUR HELP IN SOLVING A CRIME: Maybe some of you can help ZD with THIS:"...have him tell you everything about Julio Ramirez of Wetherly and the interesting role in his dealings with Democratic Governor Gray Davis."Julio worked with Wetherly Capital on a $100 Million "Special Situation" Fund for Simon & Sons in 2002, when Dan Weinstein was backing Gray Davis! The $100 Million for Simon's "special situation" fund was to be collected from CalPERS,CALSTRS, NY Common, Orego, WA State, Rhode Island and Colorado fire and police pension funds -- and Mr. Ramirez was the pitch guy for Wetherly.So I understand that Julio has some interesting information regarding the 2002 California Gubernatorial election, in which the Wetherly-backed Gray Davis won re-election against Bill Simon (who Wetherly was simulatneously trying to raise $100 Million out of pension funds from across the country for Simon's "special situation" fund. This item holds the key to uncovering "ELECTION FRAUD!"


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