New Mexico signs off on settlements in pay-to-play scandal
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s State Investment Council has approved settlements in a decade-old scandal that involved politically influenced investment deals using state money.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the council unanimously approved settlements Tuesday with Anthony Correra and his son Marc Correra, who shared in more than $22 million in fees charged to investment firms.
Anthony Correra was a former confident of and unofficial adviser to then Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, and former State Investment Officer Gary Bland.
He agreed to pay $1 million to settle claims that he directed state investments through Bland to firms that paid fees to his son.
Marc Correra agreed to turn over $4.1 million from retirement accounts to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to be used to settle claims. The settlement also allows $900,000 to be released from an escrow account.
The father and son have both agreed to never conduct business again in New Mexico.
The investment council also approved settlements with Bland and former Richardson political supporter Guy Riordan.
In all, the council has settled more than 20 civil lawsuits against financial firms and individuals for more than $51 million, part of which has to be shared with the private law firm it hired to handle the litigation.
Investment council staff estimates the state will receive between $35 million and $40 million.
The alleged pay-to-play scheme came to light in 2009. No charges were ever filed, but the top federal prosecutor in New Mexico at the time had said a yearlong investigation revealed that pressure from the governor’s office had resulted in the corruption of the procurement process.
The investment council was restructured in 2010 in the wake of the scandal to curb the influence of any governor over investment strategies and the selection of outside money managers.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com