Former Obama administration “car czar” and leader of the Presidential Task Force on Autos, Steven Rattner, wrote a $10 million check yesterday to NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo dropped his charges. Rattner will remain a free man. The only thing he’s not allowed is to appear before any state-pension funds for the next five years. Cuomo can close out his desk and go on to become New York’s governor.
For Rattner, this is the end of the “pay-to-play” pension kick-back scandal that led to the criminal convictions of former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi and seven others. Rattner will get away, and the Empire State will have $10 million less of a budget shortfall.
The New York Post says that “Rattner’s punishment is a slap on the wrist compared to what Cuomo originally wanted from the ex-Wall Street financier.” Cuomo wanted a $26 million settlement. Rattner countered with $ 6 million. Cuomo turned him down, his reasoning is in the video. Excerpt: “6 million dollars is basically the amount of money Mr. Rattner will make from the deal. We have people in prisons today who would have gladly just given back the money and go on their way.” Well, Rattner had settled a parallel probe with the SEC for $6.2 million, and probably thought what’s good enough for the Feds should be good enough for the State.
Hevesi and others are awaiting sentencing, while Rattner continues advising his old pal, Mayor Bloomberg. Speaking of Bloomberg, Bloomberg treats the case with kiddie gloves. It gives wide play to Rattner calling Cuomo’s lawsuit “close to extortion.” Bloomberg went deep in the archives and found another Rattner bonmot: Cuomo “has basically threatened me all along the way that if I don’t do what he wants me to do, he will prosecute me to the ends of the earth.”
It was all talk, Steve. just make sure the check won’t bounce.