* Wissman pleaded guilty in 2009
* Case involved "pay-to-play" at NY pension fund
* Scheme led to eight convictions
By Karen Freifeld
NEW YORK, Sept 28 Barrett Wissman, co-chair of
IMG Artists, will serve no jail time for his role in a sweeping
case of securities fraud in which investment firms paid
kickbacks to manage assets of the New York state pension fund.
Wissman, former managing director of Dallas-based hedge fund
HFV Management (also known as Hunt Financial Ventures), was
sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty in 2009.
"Because of my actions and the actions of others," Wissman
said in New York state court at his sentencing, "investment
managers were hired not for their skills and their abilities ...
but because they were well-connected."
Wissman is among eight people who pleaded guilty in a
years-long probe of "pay-to-play" at the New York state Common
Retirement Fund, which was recently valued at $150.6 billion.
Another six, including Steve Rattner, co-founder of
private equity firm Quadrangle Group LLC, and 21 firms made
civil settlements, and paid more than $170 million for their
roles in the scheme.
The investigation, initiated by then New York Attorney
General Andrew Cuomo, now the state's governor, revealed a
nationwide problem and led to changes in pension funds across
the country. New York banned the use of placement agents,
lobbyists and elected officials from pension-fund business.
New York state Supreme Court Justice Lewis Bart Stone
allowed Wissman to withdraw his 2009 felony plea on Friday,
leaving him with a misdemeanor, as part of his cooperation
The judge sentenced Wissman to a conditional discharge,
meaning the case was closed as long as he did not commit other
Wissman, who stepped down as chairman of IMG Artists
after his 2009 guilty plea, is back as co-chair of the firm,
which represents classical musicians.
He paid $12 million in his plea agreement with the New
York Attorney General. In a separate agreement with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commissioner, he was barred from the
Wissman gave $600,000 in kickbacks to a political
consultant between 2004 and 2007 in exchange for a $100 million
investment by the New York pension fund in an HFV fund. He also
took millions as a middleman on investments, secretly paying
kickbacks on that money as well, the New York Attorney General's
Former New York state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who was
running the state pension fund when the corruption occurred, is
in prison. Hank Morris, the former political consultant at the
heart of the scheme, was also sent to prison.
Elliott Broidy, the founder of Los Angeles-based
Markstone Capital Partners, has not yet been sentenced. He
pleaded guilty, too.
Saul Meyer, founder of Dallas-based pension consultant
Aldus Equity, is also awaiting sentencing, as is David Loglisci,
the pension fund's former chief investment officer.