BNY Mellon Names New General Counsel
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation yesterday named veteran finance lawyer Jane Sherburne as senior executive vice president and general counsel, effective May 3. She will report to chairman and CEO Robert P. Kelly and will be a member of the bank’s executive committee.
Since 2009, Ms. Sherburne has run her own legal practice. Before that she served as general counsel at Wachovia Corp. for about a year, before it was acquired by Wells Fargo Co. in 2009. Previously, she was general counsel for the global consumer group at Citigroup Inc., served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton, and was a partner at Washington, D.C., law firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. At BNY Mellon, Ms. Sherburne is replacing Carl Krasik, who the bank said has planned to retire this year. – Sue Reisinger
Firm Founded by Ex-Car Czar Settles Corruption Probe
An investment firm founded by Steven Rattner, President Barack Obama’s former car czar, has agreed to pay $12 million to resolve allegations that it paid kickbacks to drum up business from New York’s giant government pension fund. The Quadrangle Group said it would refund $7 million to the pension fund and pay another $5 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of the deal, which was announced yesterday. The settlement covers only Quadrangle, not Mr. Rattner, who left the firm last year to become co-leader of the presidential task force that restructured the auto industry. It leaves open the possibility that Mr. Rattner—a major political fundraiser and influential policy figure—could still face a lawsuit from either the SEC or Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Quadrangle has acknowledged paying more than $1 million in finders fees to a political consultant, Hank Morris, in exchange for his help landing a lucrative state investment contract. Mr. Morris was a longtime aide to state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who controlled the pension fund until his resignation in 2006. Mr. Rattner organized those payments, which the SEC called kickbacks. He also had his company invest in a low-budget film produced by the brother of the pension fund’s chief investment officer. Quadrangle had previously argued that those payments and the film deal were not improper, but a news release issued yesterday by Mr. Cuomo’s office included a statement from the company in which it excoriated its founder. “We wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner, who hired the New York State Comptroller’s political consultant, Hank Morris, to arrange an investment from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. That conduct was inappropriate, wrong, and unethical,” the statement said. In a statement yesterday, Mr. Rattner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said that her client “does not agree with the characterization of events released today, including those contained in Quadrangle’s statement. Mr. Rattner shares with the New York Attorney General the goal of eliminating public pension fund practices that are not in the public interest. He looks forward to the full resolution of this matter.”
The deal is the latest in a series related to a pay-to-play scandal at the $130 billion pension fund, which provides retirement benefits for more than 1 million government workers. Mr. Cuomo’s office also announced settlements yesterday with GKM Newport Generation Capital Services, which agreed to pay $1.6 million, political consulting firm Global Strategy Group, which will pay $2 million, the California lobbying firm Platinum Advisors, which will pay $500,000, and a New York political operative, Kevin McCabe, who will pay $715,000. Mr. Cuomo said yesterday that the investigation continues. – Associated Press
Queens Imam Sentenced to Time Served in Terror Plot
Ahmad Afzali, the Queens imam who pleaded guilty in March to lying to law enforcement officials about his relationship with Najibullah Zazi, the airport worker who planned to bomb New York’s subways, was sentenced by a federal judge yesterday to time served. Mr. Afzali, who left his native Afghanistan following the Soviet invasion, also agreed to “self-execute” removal from the United States in the next 90 days in order to avoid a deportation hearing. Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Afzali warned Mr. Zazi and his father that they were under law-enforcement surveillance, then, as Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Loonam told Judge Frederic Block yesterday, “lied repeatedly” to the police and FBI. Mr. Afzali, 38, told the court, “I take full responsibility for my actions. But honestly, it was never my intention to help those idiots.” – Mark Fass
Personal Notes on Lawyers
• Former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram has joined the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law as a senior fellow.