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News: wc75-1  ILLINOIS PRISON LOCKDOWN STATUS:

BIG MUDDY ON LOCKDOWN. CALL BEFORE VISITING.
CENTRALIA ON LOCKDOWN. CALL BEFORE VISITING.
PINCKNEYVILLE ON LOCKDOWN.CALL BEFORE VISITING. 
SOUTHWESTERN ON LOCKDOWN.CALL BEFORE VISITING.
SHAWNEE ON LOCKDOWN. CALL BEFORE VISITING.
 

 
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 1 
 on: Today at 04:00:51 PM 
Started by Forevermah - Last post by me
It wasn't politics I was pointing out - it was business and financial.  The original post was about privatization of prisons for financial gain.......

 2 
 on: Today at 03:55:08 PM 
Started by Forevermah - Last post by jaf
So much for no more politics on here.

As I said, I could fill a book with nasty crap about Quinn and his gang.  Shall I?

 3 
 on: Today at 03:45:22 PM 
Started by Forevermah - Last post by me
Speaking of big business taking over..... has anyone read this??   wc21

 Investing 10/27/2014 @ 1:26PM

Bruce Rauner Wants It All: Public Office Plus Private Equity Secrets


With an estimated personal net worth of nearly a billion and a stable of high-end residences, managing state workers’ retirement savings for decades– shielded from public scrutiny– has worked out very nicely for private equity titan Bruce Rauner.

You’d think he’d be thanking his lucky stars that public pensions have contributed generously to his lifetime of opportunity.

You’d be wrong.

Today Rauner is using some of the millions he garnered from workers savings to fund a run for governor of Illinois. As the Republican Gubernatorial Candidate he wants to “reform” state pensions and force public workers into the same poorly-designed 401(k)-style plans that have utterly failed to provide retirement security for private sector employees.

After having paid his firm, GTCR, and Wall Street billions in private equity asset-based and incentive fees, Rauner believes Illinois public pensions can’t afford the lavish $2,500 in average monthly benefits promised to workers.

I know Bruce Rauner personally. Our views on the scope of the fiduciary duty pension money managers owe their clients and the appropriate level of conflict of interest disclosure appear to be starkly divergent. However, I have no problem with the riches he has earned from public workers’ pensions per se. Hopefully America still is the land of opportunity and those who prosper from legitimate business dealings can be an inspiration to all. Maybe he has, as he claims, “succeeded at everything he’s done.”

Call him Bruce Almighty, if you like.

However, one of the essential hallmarks of a good leader (says Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO at JP Morgan Chase), is openness– “sharing information all of the time is vital.”

What’s so irksome is that Rauner, like Mitt Romney, believes it is possible for the most secretive of money handlers — managers of opaque, conflict of interest-ridden, high-cost, high-risk, illiquid, hard-to-value private equity investments — to run for public office (and win) without disclosing how they made whatever money they have stashed offshore in the Caymans, or wherever.

Given the complex structure of Rauner’s investment dealings over the decades, unless workers whose pensions are at risk, as well as taxpayers,  are up for digging deeply into his past—to gain a fuller understanding of how he reportedly walked away with nearly a billion—he may be right. Let’s hope he’s not.

Throughout his bid for the nation’s highest office, Romney succeeded to an alarming degree in keeping his financing dealings from the public. However, his lack of forthrightness cost him votes. The nation is still in the dark about the devices hedge, venture capital and private equity billionaires employ to prosper outrageously (and unfairly, in my opinion) at the expense of their investors.

In the United Kingdom, a revolt over private equity secrecy at pension funds is emerging, says the Financial Times.

Rauner’s bid for governor of Illinois will answer several crucial questions: Can a massively-funded candidate who refuses to disclose key information regarding an entire career spent managing public monies inspire voters and emerge as a leader? Can a secretive pension manager be trusted to reform his clients, or even investigate himself?
English: 2004 Saleen S7 in the movie: "Br...

2004 Saleen S7 in the movie: “Bruce Almighty” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the course of my career, I have forensically reviewed many of the nation’s largest private equity managers of public pensions for conflicts of interest, hidden, excessive or bogus fees, as well as wrongdoing. My Rhode Island and North Carolina state pension investigations, involving approximately $100 billion in assets, identified many “red flags” regarding these gunslingers.

I recently briefly examined GTCR’s SEC filings. Below are my observations about the industry generally and Rauner’s firm specifically.

The private equity crowd has gotten a whole lot greedier in recent years. Today their limited partnership and other agreements generally expressly permit outrageous conflicts of interest and self-dealing, including General Partners keeping the best investments for themselves.

Investors of all stripes have failed to respond to the spate of abuses– despite the SEC’s recent publicly announced findings of bogus fees and expenses at over 200 private equity firms, as well as cherry-picking related to performance reporting and valuation of investments.  This investor inaction is not surprising since private equity funds are highly secretive and unless investors know the skullduggery they should be looking for, they’ll never find it.

The litany of permissible conflict of interest scenarios (many of which are commonplace throughout private equity) detailed in Bruce Rauner’s firm SEC filings, should be disturbing to any so-called sophisticated investor. Unfortunately, public pensions routinely consent to such potentially harmful conflicts  either because they don’t read, don’t fully comprehend the oblique disclosures, or simply don’t care that politically-connected insiders may be profiting at the expense of stakeholders. For example:

“The Adviser and certain employees and affiliates of the Adviser may invest in and alongside the Funds, either through the General Partners, as direct investors in the Funds or otherwise (emphasis added)…

The Adviser and its related entities may engage in a broad range of activities, including investment activities for their own account (emphasis added)…

The Adviser may, from time to time, establish certain investment vehicles through which employees of the Adviser and their family members, certain business associates, other “friends of the firm” (emphasis added) or other persons may invest alongside one or more of the Funds.

In certain cases, the Adviser may cause a Fund to purchase investments from another Fund, or it may cause a Fund to sell investments to another Fund.”

Translation from legal-speak: Rauner and his associates could invest directly, or create a special “family and friends” fund which could invest, at lower cost in shares of the same companies his firm purchased for funds in which public pensions invest. The associates, or “family and friends” fund, could profit by holding onto those shares, or immediately flip them, selling to the funds in which public pensions invest at a guaranteed, riskless mark-up.

Alternatively, GTCR could sell start-up companies it founded (or the family and friends fund could sell companies it purchased from GTCR) to funds the firm managed for public pensions at inflated prices.

“In addition, the Adviser may, from time to time, fund start-up expenses for a portfolio company and may subsequently sell such portfolio company to a Fund. Such transactions may create conflicts of interest because, by not exposing such buy and sell transactions to market forces, a Fund may not receive the best price otherwise possible, or the Adviser might have an incentive to improve the performance of one Fund by selling underperforming assets to another Fund in order, for example, to earn fees.”

Improve the performance of the friends and family fund by selling the laggards to other GTCR funds in which public pensions invest? Seems possible, based upon the firm’s SEC filings.

Or GTCR could permit certain special investors in funds in which public pensions have invested to profit, potentially at the expense of public pension investors.

“The General Partners and/or the Funds may enter into other written agreements (“Side Letters”) with one or more limited partners of the Funds. These Side Letters may entitle a limited partner to make an investment in a Fund on terms other than those described in such Fund’s organizational documents. Any such terms may be more favorable than those offered to any other limited partners.”

Then there’s the luxury private equity managers enjoy of charging investors additional fees.

“The Adviser generally may, in its discretion, contract with any related person of the Adviser (including but not limited to a portfolio company of a Fund) to perform services for the Adviser, including in connection with its provision of services to the Funds. In such instances the Funds may bear the cost of such services. When engaging a related person to provide such services, there is a risk that the Adviser may have an incentive to engage the related person even if another person may be more qualified to provide the applicable services and/or can provide such services at a lesser cost.”

As mentioned earlier, a recent internal review by the SEC found a majority of private-equity firms inflate fees and expenses charged to companies in which they hold stakes, raising the prospect of a wave of sanctions against managers by the agency.

More than half of about 400 private-equity firms that SEC staff examined charged unjustified fees and expenses without notifying investors, said the SEC.

Transactions fees charged by private equity funds, sometimes called the “crack cocaine of the private equity industry” because the fees are not traditionally subject to minimum performance requirements, are increasingly opposed by public pensions and have recently been the subject of an SEC whistleblower complaint filed by a senior private equity insider.

Recently Blackstone, the world’s largest buyout firm, announced it would end this controversial fee practice that is under scrutiny from regulators and investors.

I’m not saying Rauner’s firm necessarily engaged in any of the above conflict scenarios (or myriad other possibilities), or abuses, but the firm’s SEC filings seemingly warn it might.

Insiders secretly profiting “from time to time” at the expense of other investors through such arrangements is more than a mere possibility—it is a risk Rauner’s firm (like most private equity managers) vaguely discloses to investors.

Given all of the above disclosed potential conflict of interest and self-dealing scenarios, it should come as no surprise when private equity insiders end up doing a whole lot better than their pension clients who, at best, have only a whiff of the rank secret dealings.

Worse still, in recent years the private equity industry has devised new seemingly air-tight agreements which allow them to keep investors, especially public pensions and stakeholders, in the dark as to dirty tricks that could harm their public reputations, including criminal activity.

The legalese Rauner’s GTCR came up with looks like this:

“The organizational documents of certain Funds permit the Adviser and/or each such Fund’s General Partner to withhold information from certain limited partners or investors in such Fund in certain circumstances. For instance, information may be withheld from limited partners that are subject to Freedom of Information Act or similar requirements. The Adviser and/or General Partner may elect to withhold certain information from such limited partners for reasons relating to the Adviser’s and/or General Partner’s public reputation or overall business strategy, despite the potential benefits to such limited partners of receiving such information. In addition, due to the fact that potential investors in a Fund may ask different questions and request different information, the Adviser may provide certain information to one or more prospective investors that it does not provide to all prospective investors.”

Who are the limited partners that may be denied information because they are subject to FOIA-type laws? You guessed it– state and local pensions such as those that have supplied two-thirds of GTCR’s funds, according to Rauner.

How do you withhold material investment information from certain investors (and provide it to others) without harming the former? You can’t, in my opinion. Even GTCR acknowledges ”the potential benefits to such limited partners of receiving such information.”

Withholding a benefit amounts to a detriment, in my book.

Why would dozens of public pensions like the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, Illinois State Board of Investment, San Francisco City and County Employees’ Retirement System, Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, Minnesota State Board of Investment, New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, New Mexico Public Employees’ Retirement System, Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System and the Washington State Investment Board agree to such obviously unfair treatment? I have no idea, but if I were a stakeholder in one of these funds, I’d want to know.

How can Rauner assure the public he’s dealt fairly with public pensions, yet withhold all relevant evidence? Again, no idea. In America, public office usually comes with public scrutiny and accountability– eventually.

How much money did Rauner make off Illinois pensions?

I am unaware of any public pension which discloses to the public, or even knows, precisely how much money private equity managers are making off workers’ retirement assets. The personal compensation the founders of private equity firms disclose alone is off the charts.

Today even the best investment bankers get paid chump-change millions compared to hedge and private equity billionaire money managers handling pensions.

David Tepper, the founder of Appaloosa Management, raked in a cool $3.5 billion last year, after earning $2.2 billion in 2012. Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors (now named Point72 Asset Management) pocketed $2.4 billion, while John Paulson of Paulson & Company carted away $2.3 billion.

Poor Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, with total 2013 compensation of a measly $23 million should be livid and demand a raise.

At $53 million in 2012, even piker Rauner earned more than twice the CEO of Wall Street’s most reviled firm, the Vampire Squid.

For private equity managers with access to public pensions, the sky is the limit. Access, not investment acumen, is the key prerequisite. How to secure access to public monies is rarely discussed—for good reason.  The investment managers in the Winner’s Circle more often than not include participants in “pay-to-play” schemes involving politicians, board members, influence-peddlers known as “placement agents” and pension adviser gatekeepers.

According to a report by Council 31 AFSCME Illinois, a few years ago Rauner’s firm received millions in Pennsylvania state pension assets to invest after a $300,000 campaign contribution to that state’s Democratic governor. In Illinois, a company owned by Rauner paid a member of the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System Board more than $25,000 a month. His firm was selected to handle TRS pension dollars. The TRS member, Stuart Levine, is now in federal prison for public malfeasance.

It seems Rauner mastered the art of accessing public pension assets to manage, including (according to his firm’s SEC filings) reliance upon placement agents which have proven to be so controversial at public pensions across the country.

In my opinion, before Rauner can be deemed fit to serve as governor of Illinois, an in-depth review of his secret dealings with state pensions is called for– especially since the state’s pensions are in a crisis (which merits investigation) and  4 out of the state’s 7 last governors ended up in prison. The last thing Illinois needs is to compound its pension problems.

If Rauner wins, expect questions about his past and ongoing private equity business dealings to continue to swirl. In my forensic experience,  greater scrutiny of opaque investments always reveals weaker investment performance.

 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2014/05/28/state-pension-transparency-is-right-message-at-right-time/

 4 
 on: Today at 02:29:59 PM 
Started by MissAndrea - Last post by jaf
I'm currently sitting in the visitors parking lot. A c/o in the guard tower right beside the lot told me that there are NO visits today. Asked about tomorrow and was told she didn't know, I would have to call to find out.

Oh no!  So sorry, I hate when that happens.  How far did you drive?

 5 
 on: Today at 12:54:26 PM 
Started by Family1st - Last post by Family1st
Family 1st Visitation Services are currently providing services to Shawnee/Vienna and Western on Sundays. Sheridan correctional during the week. I am also working on adding Vandalia and Jacksonville for Saturday visits. For updates and more information please call. More correctional centers will be added in the future.

[We're All We Got] 312-218-3518

 6 
 on: Today at 12:50:56 PM 
Started by Family1st - Last post by Family1st
Family 1st Visitation Services will be providing transportation services to Sheridan Correctional Center at a discount rate of $15 per adult and $10 per child for a limited time only. We will be providing service for weekday visits possibly 2 trips per day afternoon and evening up to twice a week. Home pickup and drop off options are available. For more information call.


[We're All We Got] 312-218-3518

 7 
 on: Today at 12:39:18 PM 
Started by MissAndrea - Last post by MissAndrea
Just now seeing two Orange Crush men in full gear walking through the parking lot to go inside another part of the facility. So that would explain the lockdown.

 8 
 on: Today at 12:36:41 PM 
Started by MissAndrea - Last post by MissAndrea
I'm currently sitting in the visitors parking lot. A c/o in the guard tower right beside the lot told me that there are NO visits today. Asked about tomorrow and was told she didn't know, I would have to call to find out.

 9 
 on: Today at 09:55:36 AM 
Started by Forevermah - Last post by me
Yes, but the lesser of two evils is Quinn.. Rauner is not good for this state in so many ways.. of course that is IMO.   One thing we never want is big business taking over the prison system here in Illinois and he is ALL about big business and outsourcing. 

He'll get out of all his investments and companies, tell me when that will happen?

Will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Amen!  I totally agree.  Everyone needs to get there facts and go out and VOTE VOTE VOTE! 

Bottom line is if you don't vote - you can't complain!!

 10 
 on: Today at 09:52:10 AM 
Started by Forevermah - Last post by me
Thanks for bringing this up again Mah.  It is very important you remember to vote regarding this.  

There has also been commercials playing with actor Kelsy Grammer who is one of the spokespersons for this law.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Kelsey-Grammer-Touts-Crime-Victims-Amendment-in-Illinois-280664722.html

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