SEC Charges New Jersey With Securities Fraud. Is Mass Next?

(ruh roh for Tim for Governor.  Is he next?

Brent, just for you I linked to over 200 articles, not on RMG, about Tim Cahill and Pay to play and highlighted four of them for you. enjoy. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

On Wednesday the SEC charged New Jersey with securities fraud for untruthful disclosures concerning the state of its public pension plans.  http://sec.gov/news/press/2010…  The SEC’s investigation is only the second ever that has been brought against a public entity (City of San Diego was the other one).

According to the SEC’s order, New Jersey offered and sold more than $26 billion worth of municipal bonds in 79 offerings between August 2001 and April 2007. The offering documents for these securities created the false impression that the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) and the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) were being adequately funded, masking the fact that New Jersey was unable to make contributions to TPAF and PERS without raising taxes, cutting other services or otherwise affecting its budget. As a result, investors were not provided adequate information to evaluate the state’s ability to fund the pensions or assess their impact on the state’s financial condition.

I would suspect that Tim Cahill is sleeping a bit more uneasy these days.  It was, after all, Mr. Cahill who signed off on the Commonwealth’s bond offerings that portrayed the state as able to meet obligations while at the same time publicly warning that the state was headed for a “California-style financial meltdown.”  http://www.bostonherald.com/bu…

I would also applaud the SEC’s actions in this matter.  State and local governments have been pulling the wool over the eyes of taxpayers and investors for too long.  Given that Uncle Sam will probably have to foot the bill for state pension mismanagement-and is doing so for state mismanagement of operating funds today-it is fitting that regulators at least insist on adequate and truthful disclosures.  

And locally, another reason that we need better oversight at the Treasurer and Auditor offices.  A big factor in that is competitive elections for the constitutional offices which we have this time thanks to Karyn Polito, Mary Connaughton and Kamal Jain.

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  • Cahill the “fiscal conservative” gets duped…

    http://www.reuters.com/article

  • You’ve documented no link between what NJ did and what MA has done.

  • We hear daily cries from public officials that companies and their officials need to be held accountable for their misstatements, omissions, etc. all of which lead to various types of securities fraud.  yet, here we have the State of NJ settling with the SEC with not a single penalty in terms of monetary against the state or any of its officials, elected or administrative.  This boggles the mind.  How can the State commit fraud without any involvement of its officials or personnel?  Has anyone been fired?  Anyone asked to leave?  Not a soul per the news reports to date.  This should have people screaming that the SEC has a double standard with regard to states and private companies.  At least there should be pause when people are buying NJ bonds, but they easily sold their offering yesterday.

    Back to MA.  Rather than focus on potential issues at the Commonwealth level, where there is, at a minimum, reason to make sure we are not exposed as NJ was (this is not a MA issue, but something all states should be doing right now).  However, what about all the bonds and securities offered by cities and towns?  Will the AG, Secratary of the Commonwealth and Auditor undertake examinations to ensure that we do not have issues at that level that need to be dealt with now?  Will they undertake to ensure that these offerings and offerors all know and understand the penalties for making inaccurate or misleading statements in bond offering documents, although there appear to be none in the eyes of the SEC?

    There is much to be concerned about if you are a public official signing off on these offerings, preparing these documents, etc.  Time to be focused on what is being said in the documents versus what is being said in other places and in private.