We’ve written before about L.A.-based Yucaipa Companies, the investment group run by Democratic mega-contributor Ron Burkle. Some Yucaipa funds appear to receive their funding from CalPERS and other public pension funds based on party affiliation, not performance.
Yucaipa’s investments also have a political tinge to them, such as funding Al Gore’s cable channel (this from an investment pool that was sold as targeting “lower income urban and rural communities”).
Yesterday the New York Post’s Peter Schweizer looked at who controls the public pension fund money funding Yucaipa, and what they might hope to gain:
CALPERS, the huge California public-employee retirement fund, has agreed to commit $500 million to Yucaipa, and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS) another $150 million.
… The hundreds of millions flowing from California retirement funds come courtesy of California Treasurer Phil Angelides, a longtime Clinton political ally. Now running for governor, his bio mentions his important role (as state California Democratic Party chairman) in electing Bill Clinton to the presidency. The banner photo across his Web site features him standing side-by-side with the ex-president.
Bill Clinton is an advisor to Yucaipa.
LegalAffairs.org tells us more about incestuous CalPERS investment:
… people at the firms that manage CalPERS’s investments contribute to the political campaigns of CalPERS board members. The coalition cited press reports that three funds managed by Yucaipa Companies, to which CalPERS has committed $450 million, were headed by Ron Burkle, who made campaign contributions to California Treasurer Phil Angelides, a member of the CalPERS board and a candidate for governor. Another CalPERS board member, former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, worked directly for Burkle.
California’s public employees should ask whether their pension money is being invested with their long-term financial health in mind, or the short-term political health of Phil Angelides.
* this and other sources note that two of CalPERS three Yucaipa investments have negative rates of return, but this is not meaningful in young funds. CalPERS reports its data here.
A great piece in SF Weekly on Yucaipa’s involvement with Al Gore’s cable network is here.
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