Florida Clears Alliance of Racketeering Charges

January 6, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The state of Florida has dropped its racketeering investigation of Alliance Capital Management, finding no evidence of wrongdoing in the firm's investment of Florida state pension funds in Enron.

The year-long investigation, which followed Florida pension fund losses of more than $300 million (see  State Retirement Systems Look To Recover Enron Losses Florida to Join Enron Suit, May Lead Retirement Funds Take On Enron ), was based on dozens of interviews and a review of 172 boxes of subpoenaed documents from Alliance, Enron, and Enron accountant Arthur Andersen, according to the Associated Press.

Other Actions Proceed

However, the state attorney general’s decision is not expected to have an immediate bearing on the state pension fund’s civil lawsuit against Alliance (see  It’s Official: Florida Sues Alliance Over Enron ) or on federal inquiries into the practices of Enron and Andersen.

According to the report, the Florida investigators found no evidence that Governor Jeb Bush was involved in directing the pension fund’s purchases.   Despite the Enron-related losses, none of the 650,000 state government retirees will lose money.

Piling On

Lawyers for the Sunshine State had charged that Alliance began accumulating huge quantities of Enron stock the day after Enron’s then chief executive, Jeffrey Skilling, left the company, and continued on the Enron purchasing spree even after the beleaguered energy trader announced a formal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.   Then, just two days before Enron entered bankruptcy proceedings, Alliance sold 7.5 million shares.

Before the state fired Alliance Capital in December, the firm purchased nearly 3 million Enron shares for the state’s pension fund at prices ranging from $22.82 to $9.02 as the stock sank.   The state sold its shares at $0.28 cents each, at a loss of nearly $335 million, a small percentage of the state’s $94 billion pension fund.