By on December 31, 2010

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.

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30 Comments on “Former Car Czar Pays $10 Million, Does Not Go To Jail...”

  • avatar

    All pigs are equal, although some are more equal than others…

  • avatar

    Dear Bertel: How is this story relevant to TTAC?
    My guess is if the article did not contain the phrase “Obama administration car czar” you would not have posted this story, whose crux involves pension fund investment.
    The fact that Rattner oversaw restructuring of GM and Chrysler in’09 and quickly departed is tangential and unrelated to the matter.

    (A word of advice, avoide quoting the NY Post.)

    • 0 avatar

      It’s relevant because of his role in the restructuring. But I also feel the two should not be too closely connected.
      Also, as far as I know, this is simply the way business was done with the NY pension fund. Does anything big get built in New York without someone getting paid for the “rights?” Should everyone who pays for such rights be considered a criminal, and everything else they do be discredited?
      Not that this system is right, but it is what it is. I am happy that at least this part of it was cleaned out.

  • avatar

    (singing) I… Love New York!

  • avatar

    a 10 mil get out of jail free card.  this is one of the reasons the peasents storm the castle and start cutting heads off.

    • 0 avatar

      <chuckle> I remember the story of the last Czar ended with a family portrait or something like that…?  For that reason I always thought “Czar” was a stupid choice of words, although “Boss” conjures up almost as bad innuendos and “Appointed Official Accountable to No One with Too Much Power Concentrated in One Person” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue.  And by the way “Czar” predates the current administration by several decades.

  • avatar

    Pot calling the kettle black.
    This fine is “chicken feed” for Mr. Rattner.  He should be treated like a crook.
    Check on Mr. Cuomo’s involvement in “mortgage-gate”.  He was the secretary of HUD (in the Clinton administration) and was one of the early enablers of issuing affordable mortgages to low income people (aka “the mortgages will fail in large numbers later”).  He should be treated like a crook.

  • avatar

    Damn.  If that’s the price of the ticket, I’m afraid I’d be hanging with Bubba about now.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    caljn:  Excellent points. Slow news days seem to pose an increased risk that TTAC will momentarily descend to the sketchy world inhabitated by the New York Post and other journalistic sensationalists. No good ever comes of this.

    • 0 avatar

      The Post isn’t reputable? Like the Times or CNN or MSNBC? Come on, your ideological blinders are cutting off the oxegen to your brain. You’re kneejerk reactions are so predictable and you have lost the ability to think for yourself. That’s sad.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      …cutting off the oxegen to your brain. You’re kneejerk reactions…
      Hilarious. Ironically.

  • avatar

    Contrary to previous opinion, the issue being relevant would seem obvious to those who who understand the automotive business. Mr. Rattner, during the course of his restructuring duties, aided in violating dozens of laws. It would now seem evident that his actions then only reflect his belief that he is above normal standards and free to act in whatever way he sees fit to accomplish the goal. It would be safe to say that the myriad of legal actions now starting to enter the Courts because of these actions will take ten years to be resolved.

  • avatar

    100 percent “white space” IS rather boring, encroaching upon blase.
    Or maybe the site needs room for the herd to post MS Paint art work?
    Out of curiosity, here goes a Google in a search for something news-worthy or article-worthy related to conveyances (When “Google” is used in the manner as within the previous sentence does that usage make it a verb? A noun? Something else? Never could dissect a sentence. The “new math” of yore destroyed me intellectually and socially).

    “Beginning in 2011, drivers accused of speeding or not-exactly stopping at a stop sign will have three options: pay the full fine, ask for a waiver hearing in lieu of a trial or request a court date for a trial.
    If drivers do not choose one of these options within 30 days, they risk having their license suspended”
    Well, likely of most interest to those residing within or regularly traversing the state of Maryland.

    Just another night in northern California….. Humboldt County, part of the “Green Triangle”.

    There is always the Arcata Eye police blog to turn to for general inanity, weirdness, bizarreness and affirmation that no matter how perverted you and your kin/friends are there ARE others even more stranger.
    And thus ends our little romp with Google.
    Hippy New Year

  • avatar

    For anyone who deems this article unworthy of TTAC, there is an ongoing criminal investigation of both GM and Chrysler underway.
    Mr. Rattner was the de facto leader of the bailout, and was directly involved in all of the areas currently under investigation.
    It would seem obvious that his central role in a major felony involving misconduct and abuse of power would be very germane to his automotive conduct.

  • avatar

    Great choice for car Czar if there ever was one. Truly Den of Thieves.

  • avatar

    Figuring right from wrong in NY State pension politics is futile. The system is rife with abuse. Long term, it’s probably (depending on Congress) destined to be tuned up and hair cut by a federal judge.
    NY state AG’s have a history of stretching laws (and having their convictions overturned). And Rattner is what Rattner is – a connected finance guy and fixer who saved GM / Chrysler by stretching the law just enough.
    An interesting take on the subject, even though it applies more to the feds, is the book “Three Felonies a Day” by Harvey Silverglate.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    And all the best to you too, Mike. Whew! My dumb little comment brought on this tirade? It doesn’t seem to take much these days. Since you apparently don’t have any ideological blinders, I trust you will share your wisdom with me when you notice that I’ve gone astray. I’ll certainly be grateful for the direction.

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