ALBANY — New York has reached a million-dollar settlement in a probe of the pay-to-play scandal at the huge state pension fund, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
The agreement is with Bill White, a former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City who raised funds for former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Cuomo has said White was involved in a $2 million payment from the pension fund to a business he was affiliated with.
“The state pension fund, which should be safeguarded for taxpayers, was instead served up to fixers, finders and fundraisers like Bill White, who used his access to fill his pockets,” Cuomo said at a news conference in New York.
“Unlicensed placement agents, secret fees, and even the appearance of pay-to-play erode taxpayers’ trust and pose an intolerable risk to our pensioners’ retirement funds,” said Cuomo, a Democrat who is running for governor. “New York’s pension system is fraught with systemic problems that we can no longer afford to ignore.”
White confirmed the deal through a spokesman.
“Today, Bill has fully resolved this matter with the attorney general’s office,” spokesman Steven Kobre said. “He is looking forward to putting this behind him and working with the New York attorney general in his important effort to reform the New York state public pension system.”
Current Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a partial list of placement agents who did business with the pension fund during Hevesi’s tenure. DiNapoli also sued one of the companies accused of paying kickbacks for fund business.
Cuomo’s investigation so far has returned $138 million to the public workers pension fund and the state.