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Quadrangle disavows Steve Rattner, company founder

By Laurie Bennett

April 16, 2010 at 8:21am

Not so long ago, Steve Rattner was one of the most connected guys in America.

Today he’s looking lonelier than a coworker with bedbugs.

Quadrangle Group, the private equity company Rattner founded and then left to become President Obama’s auto czar, yesterday announced a deal that excluded its former chief.

Quadrangle will pay $12 million in fines to settle two investigations into its involvement in a pay-for-play scheme at the New York State pension fund.

The company distanced itself as far as possible from its founder. In a statement released by the New York attorney general, Quadrangle stated:

We wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner, who hired the New York State Comptroller’s political consultant, Hank Morris, to arrange an investment from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. That conduct was inappropriate, wrong, and unethical.

Rattner has not yet commented publicly.

A former New York Times reporter who attained wealth and political clout after quitting the news biz, Rattner served just five months on the president’s auto task force. He did not return to Quadrangle after leaving the job last July.

At the time, his departure appeared to cut short what had been a promising political career. He and his wife, Maureen White, have been big fundraisers for the Democrats. White is a former national finance chair for the Democratic National Committee.

Rattner’s friend, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pulled his $5 billion investment out of Quadrangle in February.

Prominent attorney Jamie Gorelick is representing Rattner in talks with the state attorney general’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gorelick released a statement saying, “Mr. Rattner does not agree with the characterization of events released today, including those contained in Quadrangle’s statement.”

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