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 FOR RELEASE:

Immediately
March 19, 2009

 

Statement from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

Today, the Attorney General’s Office and the SEC indicted two individuals formerly associated with the Hevesi administration. I, like all other New Yorkers, am outraged by the alleged wrongdoing of these individuals.

Over the past two years, we have fully cooperated with law enforcement officials. We have provided hundreds of thousands of pages of information and spent hundreds of thousands of public pension fund dollars to help the investigation by the Attorney General, the SEC and the Albany County District Attorney. These indictments send a clear message: abuse of the pension fund by those entrusted with its management will not be tolerated.

We did not wait for this investigation to finish before starting to reform the Pension Fund. Since I first became aware of allegations against this office in 2007, we have implemented numerous reforms to strengthen oversight and management of the Fund. We’ve worked with the Insurance Department to re-establish and strengthen its regulatory oversight of the Fund. We’ve made our operations more transparent and accountable.

The reforms we’ve instituted would have stopped the transgressions committed during the Hevesi administration. And at no time were the assets of the pension fund in jeopardy, and the placement agent fees alleged to have been fraudulently paid were not paid out of pension fund assets.

I share Andrew Cuomo’s concern about campaign financing in New York State. The contribution limits are too high. That’s why I’ve proposed legislation to provide for public campaign financing. My legislation would make the Comptroller’s election in 2010 the test race for campaign financing. I hope he’ll join me in pushing for prompt passage of that legislation. Even without changes in the law, I’ve voluntarily limited the contributions to my campaign.

As Comptroller, I will continue to ensure that our office is focusing on meeting our responsibilities to New Yorkers.

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