There’s a blast from the Giuliani past sitting atop the fold on Page B1 of the Times’ business section this morning in the form of a photo of Charlie Millard, Rudy’s former top economic aide who ran the city’s Economic Development Corporation in the Giuliani era. The story about him includes the most common words used these days when addressing former Giuliani aides: They are “inquiry,” “investigation” and “suspicion.”
In Millard’s case the terms stem from a blistering report by the inspector general for the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation where Millard served as director until January. The IG asserts that Millard violated agency rules about dealing with major Wall Street firms– including JP Morgan Chase, Blackrock, and Goldman Sachs — that won contracts to manage $2.5 billion of the corporation’s assets. Millard also is alleged to have solicited help from the investment firms in getting a new job once the Obama team came to town. The Times and the Wall Street Journal say that congressional leaders, including Senators Teddy Kennedy and Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, are referring the report to the Department of Justice for its own investigation.
The pension agency is responsible for insuring pension assets for some 44 million Americans. Last fall, Millard told a House subcommittee that it had nothing to worry about even though the PBGC had lost $4 billion in equity investments he’d approved with investment banks.
Millard released a letter in response to the IG report insisting that his contacts with the Wall Street firms were personal and “appropriate as a policy
matter, based firmly on agency regulations.”
This is the same good-time Charlie who, after losing a race to become the Republican congressman from the Upper East Side, was tapped by Rudy to run the city’s quasi-public EDC in the 1990s. He was promptly caught doling out fat bonuses to aides, while cops and teachers were being forced to take zero pay hikes. He also tried to hide his contacts with influential lobbyists. When the Daily News submitted a Freedom of Information request for Millard’s schedules, he deleted all meetings with top Giuliani political mentor and lobbyist Ray Harding. It was only after the agency’s own lawyers told him he had to cough up the info that Millard reluctantly released information on more than a half-dozen sit-downs with Harding, whose son Russell worked for Millard as a $105,000 a year public relations aide.
The elder Harding, once hailed by Giuliani as a “genius,” is currently under indictment for his own alleged pension schemes in the ongoing Andrew Cuomo investigation. The junior Harding has already served his five years in federal prison for ripping off a separate city agency for $400,000. Photo via senate.gov.