Recently I focused on one key aspect of the Pensiongate scandal, namely Blue Wolf Capital Management, whose founder, Josh Wolf-Powers, is at the center of Pensiongate. Josh Wolf-Powers, a former aide to Comptroller Bill Thompson, is the guy who advised Steven Rattner’s company, the Quadrangle Group, to hire the now-indicted Hank Morris as its placement agent. And Josh Wolf Powers was the focus of a discussion here on Daily Gotham because they were a major donor to City Council Candidate Brad Lander, and a Lander supporter was defending Blue Wolf Capital Management. I should also note that from what I can tell more was donated by Wolf-Powers and his wife to Brad Lander than any other politician listed under their names. As far as I know Brad has not returned this money that comes from someone so closely connected with a major scandal.
Over at True News for ChangeNYC there are more headlines on the Pensiongate scandal, this time focusing on another focal figure in the scandal: Steve Rattner. This is the guy who was convinced by Wolf-Powers to "hire" Hank Morris (I don't know if you can call it "hire" when he basically did nothing except take the money). Bloomberg is defending Rattner, who also has managed Bloomberg's personal finances (another odd mixing of government and private interests, I will add). The question of course is was Rattner merely duped by Josh Wolf-Powers (and this perhaps not the most astute of people) or was he knowingly involved in this pay-to-play exchange of favors? I should note that a Newsweek article on Rattner (also listed on True News for ChangeNYC's roundup)sure doesn't make it sound like Rattner us a somewhat naive person who is easily duped. So did he go along with Wolf-Powers knowingly or is he less astute than people are giving him credit for? I don't know. But it isn't a moot point since this guy is now Obama's car Tsar, is a close associate of NYC mayor Bloomberg, and his family is a major donor to politicians all over the place. For example, Rattner's brother donated a rather large amount ($4,950) to David Yassky's campaign for Comptroller. Yassky is well known for pay-to-play favors like his trying to get the city to give money to BUILD right after BUILD's president endorsed him, or giving $15,000 of discretionary money to Steve DiBrienza's fake PAC right after Steve DiBrienza endorsed him. So does the Rattner donation come with strings attached? Seems like bagging a Comptroller would be well worthwhile to someone so close to a major scandal. And for the record, funnelling donationes through relatives is a common way for big money interests to participate in pay-to-play. For example, Assemblyman and Party Boss Vito Lopez proposed a major sweetheart deal for developer Bruce Ratner (different Ratner rat than Rattner) right after receiving some big donations from Ratner's relatives. read more »