Updated 11/18/2010 07:19 PM
Cuomo Files Suit Against Businessman Steven Rattner
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the governor-elect, announced Thursday that he is filing two lawsuits against Steven Rattner, a businessman with deep ties to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama.
Rattner, who manages the mayor's charitable foundation, and recently headed the President's Auto task force, is accused of paying kickbacks in order to get a $150 million state pension investment in a fund he managed.
Cuomo wants Rattner to pay $26 million in fines and to be banned from the securities industry for the rest of his life, under the state's Martin Act.
He says Rattner pled the Fifth Amendment when asked 68 questions.
The lawsuit comes the same that Rattner settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $6 million. The settlement also bars him from acting as an investment advisor for two years.
Cuomo said that's not a strong enough punishment.
“We have more power than the SEC,” Cuomo said on reporter Fred Dicker’s radio show Thursday. “It’s not justice, to me, Fred, to say, well put back the money that you took and then you go about your way. You know, put the cookie back in the jar and we’ll make believe it never happened. So we filed those suits today.”
The SEC declined to comment on why they settled, but Cuomo sued. A court still has to approve the settlement.
Rattner fired back at the attorney general, releasing the following statement:
"I will not be bullied simply because the Attorney General’s office prefers political considerations instead of a reasoned assessment of the facts. . . I certainly did not violate the Martin Act. That’s why I intend to clear my name by defending myself vigorously against this politically-motivated lawsuit.”
Rattner also took the step late Thursday of suing Cuomo to seek the source of alleged leaks from his office regarding the investigation.
The investment adviser is close with the mayor and helps manage his fortune. Beyond that, Bloomberg also considers him a friend.
Rattner also helped the president, and some close to him are suggesting that Cuomo is timing his lawsuit to deflect attention from something he is celebrating – the better than expected initial public offering of General Motors.
Rattner led the bailout and turnaround of the auto giant.