Former NM Pension Chairman Sues over Placement Agent Scandal

November 2, 2011 ( - A former New Mexico pension fund official is suing financial firms, an ex-state investment officer, and dozens of others for damages because of an alleged pay-to-play scheme over pension program investments.

The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit by Bruce Malott, former chairman of the state Educational Retirement board, is the latest in a series of allegations that politically influenced investments generated large fees for supporters and friends of former Democratic Governor Bill Richardson (see Auto Czar Also Indicted in NM Pay-to-Play). Many of the same defendants have been sued in a whistleblower lawsuit by the pension fund’s former chief investment officer, and a state government agency, the State Investment Council, brought a lawsuit earlier this year claiming its former top manager, a financial advisory firm and others improperly steered New Mexico investments to Richardson supporters.  

Malott said he brought the lawsuit “to clear my good name … and discourage this kind of fraud in the future.” He said he has cooperated with federal authorities looking into the alleged activities. “Like the citizens of New Mexico, I was victimized by these people. With this lawsuit, I want to hold them accountable,” Malott said in a statement, according to the AP.  

Among the defendants in the suit is former State Investment Officer Gary Bland; Anthony Correra, a friend and political supporter of Richardson; and Marc Correra, his son. The younger Correra shared in nearly $22 million in fees as a third-party placement agent for deals involving the educational pension fund and the Investment Council, according to state records, the news report said.  

Other defendants are Aldus Equity Partners and the company’s Co-Founder, Saul Meyer, and Deutsche Bank AG, which owned a controlling interest in Aldus. The now-defunct firm served as an adviser to the pension fund and the Investment Council. It was fired in 2009 after being implicated in a New York state pension scandal (see NM Fund Ponders Aldus Lawsuit).  

Meyer has pleaded guilty to securities fraud in the New York case (see Cuomo Announces Guilty Pleas in Pay-to-Play Probe) and in his plea statement to a New York court said he recommended investments in New Mexico because of political pressures. No charges have been announced by federal prosecutors in New Mexico as part of their investigation.