| BOSTON/NEW YORK
BOSTON/NEW YORK May 2 Billionaire investor
Philip Falcone may be wishing upon a star - the Republican super
strategist kind, that is - to keep his ailing telecom start-up
LightSquared Inc alive.
With only days to go before hitting a new deadline set by
LightSquared's debtors and lacking regulatory authority to move
forward with his business plans, Falcone is leaning on Karl
Rove, one of the Republican party's most successful political
Rove, often considered the mastermind behind George W.
Bush's presidency, has been quietly working with LightSquared as
a strategic counselor for about a year, the company said.
Late on Tuesday Rove fought LightSquared's corner in an
opinion piece he penned in Politico that criticized the Obama
administration for missing opportunities to create jobs. ()
The Federal Communications Commission in February said it
plans to rescind permission for LightSquared to build a
high-speed wireless network after tests found that it could
cause interference with devices that use the global positioning
"But rather than solving this issue in a reasonable way, the
Obama administration is now proposing to shut down
LightSquared's operations before the network can even be
launched," wrote Rove.
LightSquared debt holders, including billionaire investor
Carl Icahn and hedge fund manager David Tepper, have given
Falcone until next Monday to prevent the company from being
forced into bankruptcy.
With a 96 percent stake in the company, Falcone's hedge fund
Harbinger Capital Partners has tied its future to LightSquared.
Falcone himself is a LightSquared board member but has said he
may reduce his own role if the creditors hold off on a default.
As Falcone scrambles to salvage his signature investment, he
may soon meet Rove in person away from Washington. Both men are
scheduled to attend the Skybridge Alternatives Conference in Las
Vegas next week where Anthony Scaramucci, the organizer, prides
himself on bringing together powerful people from finance and
Rove, while not officially a LightSquared lobbyist, joins a
long list of well-connected people from both sides of the
political spectrum who have worked for LightSquared.
Last year when LightSquared worked to secure the
government's provisional approval to build the network, it spent
$2.5 million on lobbyists, nearly 10 times the $265,000 it spent
It employed 15 lobbying firms, according to OpenSecrets.org
which tracks lobbying activities, and listed former Pennsylvania
Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, as a lobbyist.