The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)
Calpensions: After the board was told last April that CalPERS could not track the incentive payments, known as “carried interest,” a wave of media criticism grew with stories in the New York Times late last month and Fortune magazine last week. A pension fraud investigator, Edward Siedle of Benchmark Financial Services, launched an Internet fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter to raise $750,000 for a “forensic investigation” of the California Public Employees Retirement System.
The apparent suicide last week of Alfred Villalobos, who faced a bribery trial next month, is a sad end for a former CalPERS board member paid more than $50 million by firms seeking money from the big pension fund. Most of his fees came from private equity firms during the years leading up to the financial crisis in 2008. Some call the period private equity’s “golden years,” when leveraged buyouts of corporations yielded huge profits.