- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Sarah Palin’s online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
MF Global chief missing $1.2B is financial adviser to EPA
Question of the Day
During two days of recent congressional hearings into how as much as $1.2 billion disappeared from MF Global customer accounts, the chief operating officer of the imploding investment firm responded again and again that he did not know.
Yet as the House and Senate interrogated Bradley I. Abelow and other top executives at MF Global Holdings Ltd., lawmakers did not mention Mr. Abelow’s role as a financial adviser for the Environmental Protection Agency, which as of Tuesday listed him as the chairman of its financial advisory board.
Even as he finds himself the public face of a bankruptcy and admitted to lawmakers that he had no idea how client funds disappeared, Congress and the administration have voiced no public concern about Mr. Abelow’s role advising the $8.6 billion government agency on its finances.
“EPA relying on Wall Street for financial guidance is like the blind leading the blind,” said Jeff Ruch, president of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington.
“In Abelow, you have a Wall Street executive who just presided over the disappearance of $1 billion in investor funds purporting to help guide federal infrastructure financing.”
When first questioned about Mr. Abelow’s ties to the EPA in early November, just after MF Global declared bankruptcy, EPA officials issued a short statement saying only that he was appointed as chairman of the board on March 10, 2010, and that he is not paid for his position.
Officials declined to say whether they were reviewing his continued service for the board.
The EPA’s financial advisory board was chartered in 1989 to “provide advice and analysis to EPA’s administrator on paying for the growing costs of environmental protection,” according to the EPA’s website. The agency says members include “prominent experts from all levels of government, including elected officials, the finance and banking communities, business and industry and national organizations.”
He has ties to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson through former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Each served at different times as the governor’s chief of staff. When Mr. Corzine lost his bid for re-election and later joined MF Global, Mr. Abelow followed.
During his testimony to the House, Mr. Abelow said his total compensation at MF Global was a guaranteed $3 million. He joined the firm in September 2010 as chief operating officer, then was named president in March.
At appearances before House and Senate committees, Mr. Abelow expressed sorrow for the company’s more than 2,500 employees who are facing unemployment and investors who have been unable to recoup their funds.
“As the president and chief operating officer of MF Global, I am deeply sorry for the hardship they have all endured,” Mr. Abelow told the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on Dec. 13.
“While I know that nothing I say can ease their pain, I hope that through my testimony today, I can help this committee understand what happened at MF Global and how we are attempting to unwind the company in a manner that provides maximum value for all parties.”
He was asked repeatedly, along with Mr. Corzine, what happened to missing customer funds. More than a dozen times in response to lawmakers’ questions, he said he did not know, could not recall or wasn’t aware of various details.
“We’re looking at the top people of the company who are responsible for the overall internal controls of this company and so, Mr. Abelow, where’s the money?” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, asked in one such exchange.
“Senator, as I said in my statement, I do not know where the money is,” Mr. Abelow replied.
MF Global declared bankruptcy Oct. 31 after telling regulators that the company had about $6.3 billion in debt from Ireland, Italy, Spain and other European countries and after credit-ratings services downgraded the company’s status to “junk,” the company said in court records.
Bankruptcy filings describe Mr. Abelow’s role at the company as overseeing day-to-day execution of company strategy and holding “direct responsibility for risk, operations, client services,” among other corporate activities.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Final guilty plea in landmark federal bid-rigging case
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Power outage at Tennessee VA reveals safety risks for patients, staff
- House federal records plan would prevent repeat of IRS email scandal
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world