This story isn’t going away.? In fact, it’s only starting to heat up.
Today, the Columbus Dispatch has another story about Lehman Bros., John Kasich, and state pension funds.? This time, it’s to note that while then State Treasurer Richard Cordray was able to divest Ohio of $800 million in toxic assets before the market crashed, state pension funds were slower and as a result lost somewhere between $480 million to $220 million as a result.
What the Dispatch story doesn’t do is offer an explanation as to why the pensions funds might have been slower to drop Lehman Bros.’s toxic assets than the State was.? Let’s see, what’s the practice governing difference between the two?? Well, the decision by one person, a Democratic State Treasurer.? The pension funds are made of boards with largely bipartisan makeup.?
John Kasich wants you to believe that although he was Lehman Bros. “Man in Columbus” and was in fact, the head of their Columbus office, he knew nothing about Lehman Bros.’ investing into toxic assets in the state pension funds they managed.
A spokesman for the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund said its external fund managers made their investment decisions based on objective criteria.
That’s how a bureaucrat says, “We trusted Lehman Bros.? My bad.”
Even worse, as Lehman’s financial ship was sinking, it attempted to convince the State of Ohio to give it more money (likely in a failing attempt to stay afloat):
In late July and early August 2008, Ahmad said he received calls from two senior management officials: Erin Callan, chief financial officer, and Paolo Tonucci, corporate treasurer.
“They said, ‘Things are fine at Lehman Brothers. We would encourage you to buy our commercial paper and help us with the liquidity issues we have on Wall Street.'”
But Corday and Ahmad decided to “distance ourselves” from the commercial-paper holdings, Ahmad said.
Ahmad said he found it “shocking” that such high-level officials would call to pitch investments to the state.
About six weeks later, Lehman Brothers announced it was filing for bankruptcy. It was the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. An examiner’s report said the firm masked $50 billion in debt.
We already know that in 2002, John Kasich was willing to use his political star power to try and help his co-workers in New York get more Ohio pension business.? And we only happen to know about it because a passing reference about it was found in a single document found in the court of congressional hearings, not because John Kasich ever disclosed it.?
Just a month ago, when the Associated Press first reported on the losses state pensions had due to Lehman Brothers, Kasich denied he ever had anything to do with Lehman Bros. and the state pensions:
Kasich recently reported earning nearly $590,000 in salary and bonuses from Lehman Brothers in 2008 before the collapse, in a job he says was several rungs down from corporate leaders.
Kasich has consciously avoided and deflected any questions about his work for Lehman Bros.? Anyone who thinks the same people who got John Kasich in 2002 to pitch Lehman Bros. to the state pensions didn’t ever go back to the well again is nuts.
In fact, I can’t help but notice that not a single report of Kasich’s response to yesterday’s story does Kasich even affirmatively say this was the only time he tried to help out Lehman Bros. with the pensions.
Meanwhile, the Toledo Blade covers that Kasich is speaking to “dozens” of supporters in the heart of Ohio GOP country in coverage that is dogged with mentions to yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch story.