CHICAGO - Cook County, Ill., officials yesterday named a finance team, led by senior managers Banc of America Securities LLC and Loop Capital Markets LLC, to manage two separate upcoming bond issues that include a $104 million pension obligation sale and a $260 million self-insurance issue.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners needs to approve the team. The vote was expected at yesterday's board meeting but commissioners deferred it until a finance committee meeting scheduled for Nov. 5, in part because leaders lacked the votes needed to win approval, according to sources.
It's the first time that board approval has been required for the specific finance team selected for a bond issue. It is one of several new restrictions imposed last month by the board as it approved a controversial ordinance allowing the issuance of up to $740 million of new money and the refunding of the county's entire $3.1 billion debt portfolio.
Pending board approval, county chief financial officer Donna Dunnings announced a large and "diversified" financial team that includes several Chicago-based, regional, and minority-owned firms, as well as Wall Street broker-dealers.
On the $104 million pension obligation bond issue, the county selected Public Financial Management as its lead financial adviser, with A.C. Advisory Inc. as co-financial adviser. Banc of America would act as senior manager, with Cabrera Capital Markets Inc. as co-senior manager and Gardner Rich LLC and Northern Trust Co. as co-managers. Perkins Coie LLP would be bond counsel with Burke, Burns & Pinellis Ltd. as underwriter's counsel.
On the $260 million self-insurance bond issue, county leaders tapped Mesirow Financial Inc. as financial adviser, with Gardner, Underwood and Bacon LLC as co-financial adviser. Loop Capital would be senior manager, with Samuel R. Ramirez & Co. as co-senior manager and JPMorgan, George K. Baum & Co., Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Grigsby & Associates Inc. as co-managers. Chapman and Cutler LLP would serve as bond counsel with Greene and Letts acting as underwriter's counsel.
"We selected the most qualified firms based on experience," Dunnings said. In response to commissioners' complaints that political connections played a role in the selection, she said, "There wasn't a column to check for political connections in the [request for proposals]."
The board yesterday moved to postpone voting on the team until at least Nov. 6. The county must enter the market with the pension bonds before Nov. 30 - the due date for the payment to the pension board, Dunnings said.
When the measure reappears for vote next month, Commissioner Forrest Claypool is expected to raise questions about the selection of Grigsby for the team based on Calvin Grigsby's 1999 indictment - and subsequent acquittal - of charges of trying to bribe a Miami-Dade County commissioner to win bond business.
Claypool has also publicly criticized the selection of George K. Baum, which employs public finance banker Anthony Fratto, brother of Joseph Fratto, the chief of staff to county President Todd Stroger.
William Daley Sr., brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and county finance chairman John Daley, is Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase.