Bill Thompson as Comptroller doled out generously to Wall Street advisors

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billthompson-stickballSeptember 7, 2013- The political paper City&State published a thorough biography of mayoral candidate, and former BPCA Chairman, Bill Thompson. It portrays him as an aloof comptroller who used the office to divert unnecessary financial advisory fees to Wall Street. Those beneficiaries then helped him land a banking gig after his comptroller job, and also donated handsomely to his failed 2009 mayoral campaign.

The article states, “Thompson’s chief responsibilities as comptroller from 2002 and 2009 were to manage the city’s $85 million pension funds and a staff of about 700 people… Some staffers who worked in the comptroller’s office during Thompson’s tenure said he was a distant manager who played favorites, hired people with political connections and did not hold anyone responsible when mistakes occurred… under Thompson, huge increases in spending on financial firms by pension funds were authorized in spending on financial firms by city pension funds at the same time that the funds were losing large amounts of money….investment expenses for these funds rose from roughly $90 million in fiscal year 2002 to about $400 million in fiscal year 2010, the last year the funds were under Thompson’s control… Records show that in Thompson’s last four years as comptroller, pension investment expenses totaled more than $1.2 billion dollars, compared to only $500 million in his first four years. Despite the significant increase in spending on fees, total assets for the three funds went from $88 billion in 2006 to $82 billion in 2010….as the number of money managers who worked with the comptroller tripled.

Owing to his success in diversifying the city’s pension funds Thompson tapped a deep well of investors that would amplify his donor base in future elections. Thompson had been able to raise $500,000 in political contributions from money managers since he first ran for comptroller in 2001, according to a 2009 Times report….But his efforts were for naught.”

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