I've spent the past few years and past couple weeks, studying and blogging about CalPERS and LACERS (California and L.A. City Employee) pension funds.
I became interested in this boring topic, first while researching the CRA/LA Grand Avenue Project, and discovered pension money was invested in this overly-risky, pie-in-the-sky, road-to-nowhere project. (And it still hasn't broken ground, as Gloria Molina fought to give Related Cos (developers) another (two year) extension. (This on top of waiving the $250,000 per month LATE FEE PER THE AGREEMENT!)
It seemed kinda weird, to the novice ZD blogger, that pension money (that I thought was the most sacred, solid and stable of rocks) would be invested in something so shady and risky as Grand Ave Project.
HERE'S THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE/COMEDY SCRIPT ON "GRAND AVE PROJECT" BY ZD FROM June 9, 2007. (Still my favorite article when I need to laugh!)
And I was correct, sir...because here's an article from 2/14/11 L.A. Downtown News on ANOTHER 2 year extension, against JAN PERRY'S BEST WISHES AND BETTER JUDGMENT.
I become interested in the topic of CalPERS/LACERS (and the "Fire & Police" pension fund), again, when it was announced during a budget meeting at the City Council meeting that the city had lost billions in LACERS pension money, in overly-risky, non-investment grade, alternative investments and Henry Cisenros' "Workforce Housing" project." The answer was in response to why the city was in such a budget emergency. (Because the -20% pension loss totaling BILLIONS, has to be covered out of the L.A. City general fund. It's not like LACERS lost the billions and their recipients take the loss. No, no...they don't miss a cent...it all comes out of the general fund.
SO WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR HOW THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES LOST BILLIONS OF PENSION MONEY -- TO BE COVERED OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND!!! (A real heart breaker for us all, except a small circle of private equity firms who back the politicians who appoint their posse to the pension boards, who vote to hand the money back over to the private equity firms (while the pension commissioners are still executives at the equity firms) -- and the money is invested in shill non-profits and projects of relatives and cronies of the elected officials and equity firms.
IT'S A BIG PIE...AND YOU DON'T GET A PIECE OF IT...THEY ATE THE WHOLE PIE..AND NOW THEY ARE FIRING POLICE, FIRE, TEACHERS...CLOSING PARKS, LIBRARIES...the city is gonna come to an unsafe, public-safety-nightmare of a halt...
CAUSE Alatorre, Moret, Molina/Martinez, Nunez, Villaraigosa, Ari Swiller, Riordan, Villabobos, Buenrostro, Julio Ramirez, Jr., Monctasuma, Borges, Ziman, Weinstein, McFarlane, "Jerkle" Burkle, Darius Anderson, Magic Johnson and Henry Ciseneros ate up all the pension pie.
We have City Council elections coming up on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. And I hope you vote out ALL INCUMBENTS -- EXCEPT BERNARD PARKS...who REALLY needs your support to help him get re-elected.
But the point is, it really doesn't matter who wins, or loses the city council elections. These puppets are so far down the totem pole, they don't even DARE not-approve one of Vilaragiosa's commissioner appointments to the pension, planning and other boards.
The councilmembers are merely helpless puppets who have no choice other than to approve what they are told to approve from the higher local powers that be.
I have blogged all those names over the past few weeks: Alatorre, Riordan, Ziman, Anderson, Borges, Villabobos, Ramirez, Jr., McFarlane, Hank Morris, Nunez, Villaraigosa, Weinstein, Roos, Willie Brown, Gloria Molina and her husband Ron Martinez, Moctasuma Esparza, Buenrostro, Eric Garcetti, Henry Cisneros...and sad to say, Earvin "Un-Magic" (Bite My) Johnson.
(So that's not too many people to share a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR PIE.)
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
Darius Anderson is kingpin of Platinum Advisors. A private equity capital management group out of San Fransisco. (I guess he advises people how to pilfer pension money.) He's pals with San Fran Kingpin Willie Brown (the Alatorre of San Fran); and goes WAAAAAAAAAY back with Jerry Brown. Jerry is now Governor of California.
Peter "Victor" Borges started Wetherly Captial in Los Angeles. Run by Richard Ziman, with Dan Weinstein, Vicky Shiff, Julio Ramirez, Jr. and attorney William H. Jackson, this (was) also a private equity firm. Wetherly held fundraisers during the Zuma Dogg era for Jack Weiss and Christine Essel. Warm & Fuzzy Kingpin Richard Riordan rolls with the Wetherly crew.
You may have heard the term, "placement agents?" That's what these people are. Basically, they are "middle-men" between CalPERS/LACERS/city/state pension funds -- and the projects that the pension money is invested into. (I guess you don't have the actual pension boards investing, but they hand over the money, in chunks, to "placement agents" who do the investing for them.
Many of the investments are made in "alternative investments" (with emphasis on real estate). An example is Henry Cisneros ("CityView") and his workforce housing project he did with Villaragiosa and Garcetti in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, it WAS announced that it ended up being the single biggest lost of money for the city, and the biggest drag on the general fund.
What the placement agents bring to the table is "relationships." They have "relationships" with the politicians...and if you have a project that could use $100 million of pension money...YOU GOT NO SHOT WITHOUT A CONNECTED PLACEMENT AGENT.
It works the same way in the radio and record industry. They are called, "independent record promoters." And if they "own" your station...you could have a record with John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix, fresh back from heaven...and it ain't getting played, if the indie didn't get paid.
So you don't get pension money...unless you are willing to do something funny.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
These guys like Darius Anderson/Platinum and Richard Ziman/Wetherly hold fundraisers and donate big money to politicians running for office.
People like Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, Antonio Villaraigosa and so many others, from Presidential candidates, to Congressional candidates, to Governors, to Mayors, to Council, to City Attorney...THESE PEOPLE FUND-RAISE AND DONATE BIG TO THEIR CAMPAIGNS.
I bet there isn't a governor in California or mayor in L.A. that hasn't been backed by TEAM WETHERLY. (So what does THAT tell you. Arnold as Governor is lone exception cause he had "Terminator" and "Kindergarden Cop" money to back his own campaign...EVEN THOUGH HE COULDN'T WITHSTAND THE PRESSURE OF TEAM WETHERLY, AND CAVED TO THEM ANYWAY. But, I'm not gonna get into that tangent...now, at least.
SO THESE PEOPLE BACK THE POLITICIANS WHO HAVE BEEN MAKING YOU AND YOUR COMMUNITIES MISERABLE FOR DECADES.
Once Villaragiosa was elected in 2005, the first thing he did as mayor was appoint Wetherly crony, Elliot Broidy to Fire & Police Pension Commission; a bunch of Wetherly folks, like Vicky Shiff to LACERS board, Wetherly's William H. Jackson as Head of CRA, Chris Essel (also of Team Wetherly CURRENT head of CRA).
Then, the pension boards vote to funnel the money back to the placement agent equity firms, where they invest it into CRA projects (and other crony and family related projects) under firms like McFarlane Urban Projects (funded 90% with pension money).
Also, the mayor appointed his long time crony, Moctesuma Esparza to LACERS board. Mr. Esparza is still listed as an executive at Palladium Equity Partners. LACERS gave pension money to Palladium. Seven months later, Moctesuma was on the LACERS board. (He resigned though amidst controversy.)
So that's enough for now. I know many of you know how shady all this pension stuff is, but don't know exactly how it all ties together, exactly. Hopefully, this was a nice and helpful introduction.
HERE ARE TWO MORE VERY CRUCIAL POSTS. THESE ARE THE ONLY TWO LINKS YOU NEED TO TAKE IN ALL ZD PENSION FRAUD BLOGGING. (All the stories across the tangled web, focused into these two blog posts. AND REALLY, all you need is the top one (2/21/11), cause it has a link to the "Rocker!" one.)
- L.A. City News for 2/21/11 - PENSION FRAUD IS SUCKING ALL THE AIR OUT OF THE ROOM (What Else Really Matters? It's the root cause of BUDGET EMERGENCY!)
- ROCKER! L.A. Pension Fraud For Dummies (Connect The Dots of 'Guilty As Charged' To Villaraigosa & CRA/LA Projects) - THIS POST CONTAINS EVERYTHING!