New York Republican Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson said in an interview last month that he worked on a bond transaction with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power but declined to discuss it. The department could not confirm that Wilson had worked on a deal.
“I am unable to verify whether or not [the] candidate you’ve mentioned has done business with the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power,” said Brian Jeter of the department’s supply chain services division in an e-mail.
Jeter confirmed that Goldman, Sachs & Co., for whom Wilson worked as an investment banking analyst from August 1993 to April 1995, was in their vendor database.
The three other firms — Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the Blackstone Group, and Silver Point Capital — that Wilson said he’s worked for were not.
“We worked with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on some of their financing issues years ago,” Wilson said in an interview with The Bond Buyer. “I assume you’ve dealt with people who have clients in the past and so when you have clients you treat your business with clients confidentially.”
Phyllis Currie, who served as LADWP’s chief financial officer from 1992 to 1999 and didn’t recall Wilson. Currie, who is now the general manager of Pasadena Water and Power, said she couldn’t think of any confidentiality agreements that would have been prevented Wilson from talking about a transaction.
“Bond deals are public records and particularly for a municipal utility everything we do is a public record,” Currie said. “If he did a bond deal in ’94 there would have been bond documents that had to be approved by the board of water and power commissioners, and that would have been public record.”
Goldman senior managed one deal and co-managed three deals for LADWP during Wilson’s tenure at the firm, according to Thomson Reuters.
A spokesman for Goldman said that Wilson had worked on the corporate side, not in municipal finance.
Currie said it was possible during that time that someone on the corporate side would have looked at LADWP’s finances.
“Those were the days when most utilities were looking at the potential impact of deregulation,” Currie said. “So it’s possible that he could have worked on some assignment whereby we were trying to scope out issues that would confront us if California deregulated the electric industry, that’s the only thing that really comes to mind.”
Wilson’s campaign spokesman Bill O’Reilly said on Monday that he would look into it but said they were busy ahead of the election and he did not return further calls.
A Siena College poll released on Sunday showed Wilson in a dead heat with incumbent Democrat Thomas DiNapoli in Tuesday’s election.