Corruption and Political Intrigue in Government Employee Pensions

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Los Angeles Times has a disheartening report about the graft, corruption, and nest-feathering infesting the administration of California’s government employees pension fund, CalPers (California Public Employees’ Retirement System). It reports that subordinates were pressured into investing in to firms run by political buddies and that one of the former CalPERS administrators was “lucky” enough to have been handed a high paying new job in one of those politically connected firms after he left the government agency.

Some of these officials now under investigation are also accused of falsifying documents to further their schemes of self-enrichment at the expense of the people, accepting large gifts that went unreported, and earning millions in “placement agent fees.”

A 17-month investigation also found that Federico Buenrostro Jr. — along with former pension fund board members Charles Valdes and Kurato Shimada — strong-armed a benefits firm to pay more than $4 million in fees to consultant Alfred J.R. Villalobos, who later hired Buenrostro.

Buenrostro and Valdes raked in millions of dollars each in supposed commissions and finder’s fees while pressuring the government run pension fund to invest in their pal’s firms and businesses. And even after taking in millions in illicit income, J.R. Villalobos has declared bankruptcy claiming he owes more than $5 million to Nevada casinos.

Once again we see the corruption endemic in the pension systems for government employees. It isn’t just California. Sadly things are like this throughout the country.

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