“This is stealing from the poor and middle class to make a billionaire even richer” (Pelto, August 2012)

Twenty-two months later – vindication!

Almost two years ago, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy announced that he was giving Bridgewater Associates, the world’s most profitable hedge fund, $120 million to move their headquarters from Westport to Stamford.

Bridgewater’s CEO, Ray Dalio, is known as the nation’s highest paid individual with an annual income of over $2 BILLION a year.

At the time, Bloomberg news quoted me as saying, “This is stealing from the poor and middle class to make a billionaire even richer.”

But as reported in the Norwalk Hour, Bridgewater announced the following this evening.

“WESTPORT — The Bridgewater Associates’ move to Stamford is not going to happen.

According to a statement released by the global hedge fund on Friday, Bridgewater “will not proceed with the move.”

“After careful examination and reflection surrounding the challenges, time, energy, and resources needed to bring the proposed Stamford project to completion, we have decided not to proceed with the move. We are particularly thankful to Governor Malloy for doing his utmost to make this opportunity possible. We are now exploring our other options,” the statement read…”

While it remains unclear whether Connecticut taxpayers will get all of their money back, the good news is that the governor’s corporate welfare folly for Bridgewater looks like it is coming to an end.

Here is the Wait, What? post from August 12, 2012,

NEWSFLASH – I gave a billionaire $115 million today (and if you’re from CT, so did you!)

When one of my favorite readers sent me the news late this afternoon, I didn’t believe it.

When Bloomberg News Service wrote seeking a comment a few moments later, I almost drove off the road.

Personally, I can’t make my mortgage payments, but like Connecticut’s other taxpayers, it turns out that I managed to scrounge together $115 million for Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund.

In fact, since the state is borrowing some of the money, it will actually cost Connecticut’s taxpayers well over $150 million.

And what do we get for it.

Bridgewater will build a $750 million headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

And the bargain is that it only costs us $25 million for a “’forgivable” 10-year loan with interest set at 1 percent”, plus $80 million in tax credits, $5 million for some type of “alternative-energy system” and $5 million for job training…although the 154,000 Connecticut residents on unemployment (and the additional 100,000 who have part-time jobs when they really want full time jobs) shouldn’t hold their breath; Bridgewater is very particular about the types of people it hires.

Oh, and the kicker, they will be moving their offices….FROM WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT TO STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT.

My first response to the reporter wasn’t printable, so I stopped the car, took a deep breath and tried again.

The following is what Bloomberg News printed under the sub-headline, “‘Shocking’ Deal”:

“This is stealing from the poor and middle class to make a billionaire even richer…“This isn’t economic development…[it is] shocking beyond words…If a Republican governor did this, we Democrats would be calling for impeachment,” said Jonathan Pelto, a Democrat and former deputy majority leader in Connecticut’s House of Representatives.

The full Bloomberg News article can be found here:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-15/connecticut-aids-bridgewater-hedge-fund-to-build-new-hq.html

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

For the full Wait, What? post go to: http://jonathanpelto.com/2012/07/18/will-parents-speak-up-in-time-to-end-the-standardized-testing-madness/

  • Castles Burning

    Jonathan, I am sure that you will provide more details as they become available. The cavalier tone of the following statement is remarkable,

    “After careful examination and reflection surrounding the challenges, time, energy, and resources needed to bring the proposed Stamford project to completion [That took two years and why the heck did they apply in the first place–on a whim? Well, perhaps that was all that was needed.], we have decided not to proceed with the move [So there never really was a “deal” or signed or legal documents if you can just say NEVERMIND]. We are particularly thankful to Governor Malloy for doing his utmost to make this opportunity possible. [I guess so but you have left him with an awful lot of egg on his face.] We are now exploring our other options,” [How great that you have options and not a more binding agreement. How long will this exploration take? will we be hearing that you are leaving CT next week?]

    Where is the accountability–the real kind, not the farce that we are forcing down the throats of students, teachers, and parents throughout the state in testing that undermines education on so many levels?

  • ReTired

    What should be of great interest to taxpayers is where are those dollars now, and which corporate entity gets them next?! Corporate American, our door is always open to you! Money here for the taking!

    • jonpelto

      I’ve got an idea – how about we use them to knock down next year’s $1.3 billion deficit!
      But you are right – that would be fiscally responsible and there is not word in their lexicon like “fiscally responsible”

      • ReTired

        That’s why you need to get elected!

    • Philip Stull

      In the category of Words Matter, I vote we call this Reverse Robin Hood Expenditures.

      • Martin Walsh

        Or we could say he’s a Robbin’ Hood!

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Maybe Danny boy plans to use the dough re mi to fund the severance packages for himself, Pryor, and Comer. Reading between the lines, which is what you have do with Connecticut’s newspapers there seemed to be some major issues with the site in Stamford. Like it sat in a flood zone, the citizens of Stamford did not want it, global warming. Maybe Dalio didn’t want to relocate his money machine to a building that would probably have to be built on stilts and accessible only by water taxi in 2020.

    • jonpelto

      The Water Taxi in 2020 is priceless – even billionaires think beyond the next election – only politicians have that type of myopic viewpoint.

    • Mary Gallucci

      Also, maybe there wasn’t going to be a tax-payer-funded driveway thrown in for good measure, as they do in Bridgeport. Or was that a free air strip?

  • Martin Walsh

    Man, I couldn’t even get 55 bucks out of this guy, but if I call myself a “Dr.” maybe I could get 53 million (even w/o the felony convictions?) or better yet a filthy rich hedge fund manager for 120 mill.

    The Democrats, party of the “little guy!”

  • Christopher Coutu

    As a Connecticut tax payer were all venture capitalists. We all invested, under our loyal leader Governor Malloy, $300,000,000 for 300 jobs by 2022. Of course it will just get written off when the tax payer forgets about it.

    Or we will never forget the 1,000,000,000 “JOBS” bill. Only included another $400,000,000 for the Governor to give to the next 5 in that bill. Go ask one of the companies, who took the money, how many jobs it saved. Their answers are comical at best.

    So raise taxes on the 95,000 businesses with 2 or more employees and each CT family to provide a few billion to 15 or 20 companies. Where is that occupy wall street when you need them?

  • RJEastHartford

    Times are changing, even here in the “land of steady habits”; Connecticut.

    Tom Foley runs a stealth, innocuous campaign seeming to agree, as a candidate, with Mr. Pelto on a range of education issues. I do not expect him to “govern” as he campaigns, nor should any union member.

    Harris V Quinn, this Mother Jones article encapsulates the risk of proposed outcomes, with Justice Alito writing the opinion for the presumed majority:

    Perhaps tomorrow’s decision will wake some members up to the fact that as their structure to fight against changes such as the monetizing of
    education is weakened and slowly dismantled (by the courts, by legislation passed by a new legislature with a different make-up and proposed by a Republican Governor with help from national conservative legal and legislative organizations) but as importantly changes to their jobs, job security compensation, and benefits, the fight will become more personal…but at that time it may be just too late.

    The anti-Governor Malloy screeds will quickly become a thing of the past, teachers in municipalities with major budget dislocations will be hit the hardest first, then everywhere else; municipal workers, state workers etc.

    In the words of the great Bob Dylan: “Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’”