(PHOTO: Charles E. F. Millard. Ping pong anyone?) Rye residents Charles E. F. Millard and David Mullane have been in the news recently. Millard, of Eldridge Court, was the former head of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, an appointment by former President Bush. Mullane, of Fieldstone Road, with banking firm Blackrock, was doing his best to win what turned out to be a $1.6 billion piece of business to run money for the P.B.G.C.
The business was awarded to Blackrock and Goldman and until just 10 days ago when the P.B.G.C. voided the contracts. There has been plenty of reporting on alleged misdeeds surrounding Millard's choice of money managers, but it was The New York Times that boiled it all down to the connection these two men made over ping pong, beefsteak dinners and mass at Rye's Resurrection Church:
"…The most important player in BlackRock’s attempt to win the business was David Mullane, who had known Mr. Millard since the two attended the same high school. The friendship continues; they both live in Rye, N.Y., and attend the same church.
In his conversations and e-mail messages with the agency head, Mr. Mullane often mixed family and business, talking about his golf game, his vacations, their children, their church (“Great job at Mass again this week,” he wrote in one), invariably shifting into a discussion of his interest in the government work.
“Hope to see you at the Beefsteak Dinner tomorrow,” he wrote to Mr. Millard, referring to a Friday night gathering at Church of the Resurrection in Rye. “If you’re going perhaps we can catch up business for a few minutes before I thrash you in ping pong again.”
After a February meeting, months before the contract competition began, Mr. Mullane wrote his bosses: “Money in motion by February.”…
Mr. Millard, through his lawyer, denied telling BlackRock that he wanted to select the company even before the competition started. Mr. Millard’s lawyer also said he told the agency about his friendship with Mr. Mullane. But Jeffrey Speicher, an agency spokesman, said in a written statement that Mr. Millard “did not disclose his relationship with the BlackRock executive.”"
The NY Times sure FOIL’ed up a mudslide of private emails here though I wonder if this kind of pinstriped courtship ritual doesn’t take place in Albany or Wash D.C. every day without Times interest. More power to open records laws and sunlight statutes however.
Thinking a little further here, I wonder if our local FOIL-Master’s could get the City of Rye to cough up some emails from this exact same time period – like the correspondence between O.Paul Shew, Kevin Plunkett and Steve Otis concerning potential strategies to suppress City administration critics. And while I’d never count out a Goldman or a Blackrock as far as dreaming up a call to the “Crisis Center” as a way to intimidate, diminish and maybe knock out an opponent, I’d generally bet they’d never allow it to actually be executed. We taxpayers sure do live in a special place. I don’t think Mr. Millard did anything wrong.