[This post has been slightly edited from its original version.] There are indications tonight that the Bill White campaign has knowledge of questionable activities at the Teacher Retirement System. At least two memoranda, apparently written by different authors, have been made available to TEXAS MONTHLY, and, I presume, to other media outlets, concerning these activities. One of these memoranda appears to be the work of a former TRS employee. The other is from the White campaign. Accordingly, editor Jake Silverstein and I are regarding them with all due skepticism, as allegations should be regarded until verified. I do not know whether these allegations are accurate. It has always been my policy on this blog to publish information that I believe is of interest to readers and let readers reach their own conclusions. It is not surprising that the White campaign, trailing in the polls, intends to raise the issue of the management of the Teacher Retirement System. White has previously called for an audit of TRS. In these final weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, White’s strategy has been to raise questions about Perry’s ethics, starting with grants from the Emerging Technology Fund that went to Perry’s campaign donors. The TRS allegations enhance the narrative. One such example involved the hiring of a fund-of-funds manager. Quoting from the memo prepared by a source who has identified himself as the author of the memo but who has asked not to be identified: Our staff conducted a thorough search, completed its due diligence and in the summer of 2009 selected Parrish Capital Advisers. Parrish is a highly respected, minority owned, fund-of-funds manager which has extensive experience with small and emerging managers. The analyst who conducted the due diligence [name withheld] was immediately told to prepare a side-by-side comparison with Cintinela Capital Partners (who was included in the original search). The comparison was presented to the private markets team and strongly favored Parrish, therefore the recommendation was not changed. Shortly after the report was presented, [the analyst] was called into a meeting with [TRS administrators]…. In the meeting, [the analyst] was directed to change his report and recommend hiring Centinela Capital Partners. Subsequently, [a TRS manager] scheduled a presentation of the revised recommendation (to hire Centinela) to TRS’ Internal Investment Committee (IIC). A second memo describes a TRS transaction with Lehman Brothers, the firm whose collapse helped bring on the Great Recession. According to the memo, TRS management overrode staff recommendations not to invest $100,000,000 in Lehman Brothers’ “failed attempt to raise its liquidity, and quickly losing most of it,” because [quoting unnamed TRS personnel] “they’re our partners and they need us.” I intend to pursue the story further in the days ahead. I have told you everything I know to this point. It is far too early to reach any conclusions. I will simply say that, if true, the allegations could be damaging to Perry.
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