Why Corzine, Kramer and Clark Should Resign


Governor Jon Corzine, bureaucrat William G. Clark, and Orin Kramer, Chairman of the New Jersey’s Investment Council, have completely let the people of the state down. Their failure to firmly grasp the fact that the state’s pension plans hold the money of the people and are not a tool for political advancement is beyond comprehension.

According to the website of the state Treasury Department’s Division of Investment, headed by Mr. Clark, the pension plan is among the 10 largest in the United States and provides more than 700,000 current and future retirees in seven public systems with retirement benefits. Simply put, the system is a behemoth that seems to be managed with little if any regard for those who are counting on it for the future.

In early June last year during the height of the credit crisis, the pension system invested $180 million in Lehman Brothers preferred and common stock. In a statement, the Division of Investment said the move “was intended to improve investment performance of [its] financial services equity portfolio over time.” Time, it seems, was not on its side and when Lehman filed for bankruptcy in early September, the investment was marked to zero: The state lost it all.

On St. Patrick’s Day, the state Attorney General, on behalf of the Division of Investment, filed suit against Lehman, its former board, and its executives, citing fraud and misrepresentations surrounding the investment. Governor Corzine issued a statement saying that he hoped the suit would recover compensatory and punitive damages.

My question is: Do pension plan recipients and New Jersey taxpayers have the right to sue to recover the more then $30 billion lost to the pension fund over the last year due to bad guesses by the Division of Investment? Furthermore, the idea that the powers-that-be would have the audacity to say that had they not been running the plan, things would have been worse is to me is nothing but grandstanding on the backs of many people’s futures.

I believe that Messrs. Corzine, Clark, and Kramer should resign. These three feckless individuals need to stand up and take responsibility for their actions. There are many dedicated state employees who work hard day-in and day-out to provide critical services to the state and its residents, who in turn work hard to pay their taxes to cover the costs of those services. Yet the people in charge seem to have no idea about what to do with the money.

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