New York City Comptroller John Liu, who campaigned last year promising “full accountability and transparency” as chief financial watchdog in the most populous U.S. city, has refused to disclose the identities of money managers fired by the city’s $103 billion pension funds.
In an April speech to business leaders, the comptroller said he dismissed six managers for “poor performance.” He refused to identify them all, even after Bloomberg News sought their names under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. Liu, a Taiwan-born Democrat who became the first Asian-American elected to citywide office in November, didn’t want to embarrass them, said his spokeswoman, Sharon Lee.
“The intent was not to say X, Y and Z are awful and incompetent,” Liu, 43, said in a July 15 interview. “The intent was that we are reviewing the portfolio to identify poor performance and we are taking action. Does that mean we should go out and start excoriating individual fund managers?”
While Liu said in the interview that he would comply with the request to release the names, he did not say when they’d be made available.
“We haven’t decided not to disclose,” he said. “The operative term is that you haven’t gotten it yet.”
In an e-mail sent yesterday, Lee said the office intends to answer the freedom-of-information request by Sept. 15. “We intend to fully honor the comptroller’s commitment,” she wrote.