NY Judge Tosses Some Morris Pay to Play Charges

July 30, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – While the array of charges against political consultant Hank Morris in a New York state pension pay-to-play case has been pared down, Morris still faces a number of serious allegations.

The New York Times reported that State Supreme Court Judge Lewis Bart Stone Jr. dismissed five counts of falsifying business records, five counts of filing false documents, two counts of grand larceny and a count of scheme to defraud against Morris.  However, the politically connected Morris still faces charges of enterprise corruption, falsifying business records, money laundering and bribery.  

In refusing to throw out the bulk of the charges, Stone wrote in an order that the grand jury that handed down the indictment had heard sufficient evidence, the Times said. That evidence, Stone wrote, supported the assertion that investment decisions in hedge funds and private equity funds “were based on whether such fund had agreed to pay placement fees or share management fees with Morris or his designees rather than solely on the prudent investor rule.”  

Morris, a Democratic strategist, who had been a top adviser to former New York state Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, was charged in 2009 with 90 felonies and misdemeanors, including bribery, grand larceny, money laundering, and fraud.  Prosecutors alleged Morris and others had schemed to illegally profit from the consultant’s access to Hevesi and the potential for winning money management mandates from New York’s $122-billion pension. 

Six people have pleaded guilty as a result of the investigation into the fund, including Raymond B. Harding, the former chief of the Liberal Party in the state, and David J. Loglisci, the former chief investment officer for the state’s pension fund (see Cuomo Announces Guilty Pleas in Pay-to-play Probe).