The LATimes Christian Berthelsen reports today that voulntary investors to the County of Orange Investment fund heve been jumping ship. I thought Chris Street was being transparent?Ã‚Â Why are we learning about this now and through a media investigation rather than a statement from Street?Ã‚Â
According to the LATimes report:
The treasurer’s office rejects the notion that the departures amount to a vote of no confidence in Street, noting that the agencies were small players, and that the portfolio’s overall returns remain strong.
“Most of the voluntary participants had very small amounts of money in there to begin with,” said Keith Rodenhuis, a spokesman for Street.
But that story really doesn’t jive with what some of these agencies are saying:
“It was right when it started with Street, and we decided to pull our money out,” said Trudy Ohlig-Hall, a board member with the Mesa Consolidated Water District, which withdrew $1.75 million from the investment fund. “We just said, ‘We’re not comfortable with the situation, and we just need to make sure our money stays safe.’ ”
“We just felt what was going on with the current situation, when we looked at our investments where we have money, we just made a decision it would be better to pull out of that investment pool,” Collette said.
Some of the agencies withdrawing their funds were drawn into the county’s mess during the bankruptcy, and leaders pledged not to go through that again. The Orange County Water District, which had a balance as large as $20 million with the fund in 2006, withdrew the last $70,000 of its money in October, partly out of concern over Street’s management.
I think this comment in the LATimes story was most revealng of the situation:
“I think we were operating on the basis that we were uncomfortable with some of the stories we were hearing on the treasurer,” said Wes Bannister, a district board member. “It was just safer to get out than to get caught in another Orange County problem like we did before.”
I really hate it when history repeats itself and I get to say I told you so.
Is this story another shoe dropping? What do you think?