We hailed Steve Rattner yesterday for going out on top, for a job well done as head of the auto task force, successfully shepherding two unweildly car companies through bankruptcy.
But already there’s speculation that this is more than just a matter of him saying ‘my job is done here.’
WSJ: The New York Attorney General’s office in recent weeks has intensified its scrutiny of the private equity firm Quadrangle Group and its co-founder Steven Rattner as part of its so-called pay-to-play pension investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.
There is no indication of a connection between the heightened scrutiny and Mr. Rattner’s decision to step down on Monday as the Obama administration’s top auto adviser.
Yesterday, within minutes of Rattner’s announcement, we pointed to a Tweet from peHUB’s Dan Primack ominously warning that Rattner would be in the news again this summer, and not for cars.
Rattner almost certainly will not return to Quadrangle Group, the private equity and asset management firm he co-founded, given that his original departure doubled as a broken promise to both his partners and his investors (he told folks last year that he’d only leave if Hillary Clinton was elected, but that he had no interest in a role with Obama).
There also is the distinct possibility that Rattner could get further ensnared in the pension kickback mess, in which he’s already been tangentially implicated. Quadrangle has not yet reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and there also is talk that Lev Dassin, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and California AG Jerry Brown are itching to wade into the scandalous waters. Not saying to expect an indictment, but something more damaging than a slap on the wrist…
My Reuters colleague Joan Gralla is reporting that the NY AG’s probe of Rattner “intensified” in recent weeks. According to a source: “I think it’s more than likely that he [Rattner] will have to work out some kind of civil disposition.”
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