It was another bad day in court for that former New York political power couple, consultant Hank Morris, and his top client, former comptroller Alan Hevesi.
The bad news broke about 10:30 this morning when Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office announced that it had obtained a guilty plea from David Loglisci, Hevesi’s former chief investment officer at the state’s pension fund who was indicted almost exactly a year ago with Morris, charged with plotting to loot the pension funds for themselves and their cronies.
Loglisci has agreed to cooperate in the probe, and while authorities refused to discuss specifics, they left little doubt that his testimony reveals that Hevesi was well aware of the fabulous shenanigans that were going on at the pension fund while he was the sole trustee.
Loglisci admitted in his plea allocution in court this morning that unnamed “senior officials” in the state comptroller’s office had instructed him to get Morris’s OK on any pension fund deals. In Loglisci’s case, “senior officials” leaves only Hevesi, who has never been charged, and former chief of staff Jack Chartier, who has been singing to investigators ever since he was caught in his own escapades, chauffeuring starlet Peggy Lipton around town in state vehicles.
Cuomo and defense attorney Kevin Keating both bobbed and weaved when asked about Hevesi. “We are not commenting about what Mr. Hevesi knew or didn’t know at this time,” said Cuomo.
Keating refused to comment. Hevesi’s attorney was in court and hasn’t been heard from yet.
But sources say that Loglisci has told investigators that Hevesi was aware both that Morris was cutting his own lucrative deals as an investment adviser, and was also instructing Loglisci on which investments to make and which ones to skip.
The really fascinating aspect of Loglisci’s plea, however, isn’t that he’s admitting the scheme to push investment deals toward favored insiders, including Morris. It’s that he says he never took a nickel. And Cuomo’s office says it believes him. Given that Morris is suspected of having soaked up some $25 million in fees thanks to Loglisci’s help, that is pretty generous.
During today’s tele-press-conference, Cuomo said Loglisci’s only payoff was his job: “Loglisci’s belief is that he received a significant promotion to chief investment officer, and remained in that position because he was cooperative. His was a very big job. It could set you up for life. Loglisci is a relatively young fellow. …Was there additional money to him? There are no signs of it.”
And here’s Loglisci’s attorney, Keating: “David Loglisci found himself in a nearly impossible situation at the Common Retirement Fund. But two facts are now clear: While those around him made millions, David Loglisci never asked for a single cent from anyone. And during his tenure the fund was among the top 5 percent of performing public pension funds in the country.”
Morris is still expected to argue in motion papers due soon that he was merely a private citizen who, in the great spirit of his political predecessors, saw his opportunities and took them.