REVERSAL

Rattner Innocent in Kickback Scheme?

Not so fast. Though Steve Rattner has been drawn into a New York state pension fund kickback scandal through his former firm Quadrangle, The Business Insider's Henry Blodget reports that Rattner, who heads Obama's auto industry team, is probably clean. The SEC's report on the scandal makes it sound like Quadrangle bribed a now-indicted state official into allocating the state retirement fund with the firm. Quadrangle reportedly paid a $1.1 million "finder's fee" to a placement agent, and then a Quadrangle affiliate bought distribution rights to a D-list movie produced by the state fund employee's brother for $89,000. Blodget says it’s not as bad as it looks: Quadrangle hired the placement agent before they ever met with the state fund official, meaning the firm probably hired multiple placement agents and weren't in a pay-to-play deal with the fund. In regards to the film, Rattner referred the fund employee's brother to GT Brands, which then bought the distribution rights. He says this is a typical act of mutual backscratching that characterizes the business world, though the timing certainly looks suspicious.