Silver Laundered his Money in Buffalo


Silver Laundered his Money in Buffalo

Why hasn’t the Buffalo press, and especially the Buffalo News picked up this story. Are some pigs more equal than other pigs?”Note that the State Comptroller was selected and supported by Sheldon Silver for his office. If one were to connect up the dots did DiNapoli bestow the management of $100 million on Jordan Levy for any reason other than Silver instructed him to do so to return the favor of Levy laundering Levy’s money.”

Silver’s heart was in Manhattan, but his LLCs were upstate

Posted on February 19, 2015 at 2:49 pm by Casey Seiler, Capitol bureau chief in Sheldon Silver

The federal indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gives a clearer sense of where his assets were kept, and where the prosecution will be seeking forfeiture in the event that he’s convicted.

The document provides account numbers for accounts with HSBC Bank, Synchrony Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, two Fidelity Investment accounts and a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney account.

The indictment also mentions holdings in a handful of those often phantasmal business entities known as limited liability companies, including $368,000 in an HSBC account held in the name of JoRon Management LLC, and $100,000 in a Bank of America account held in the name of Counsel Financial Services LLC (aka Counsel Financial Holdings).

“We do not wish to comment on anything as far as that’s concerned at this time,” said a woman who picked up the phone at the Counsel Financial Services’ Williamsville offices.

Silver’s 2013 financial disclosure form on file with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics shows he and his wife each received between $50,000 and $75,000 from Counsel Financial that year.

JoRon Management’s 1999 filing with the Department of State lists Mark Zogaria as a contact for the LLC, and gives 1 News Plaza, Suite 10 in Buffalo as its address. That’s the offices of Z80 Incubator Labs, where Zogaria was a team member. He did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

Three Z80 companies recently received START-UP status through an affiliation with SUNY Buffalo.

JoRon does not appear anywhere on Silver’s 2013 JCOPE form.

Update: Counsel Financial’s board includes Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg of Weitz & Luxenberg, the personal injury law firm from which Silver recently went on leave. Silver’s collection of referral fees for roping in mesothelioma patients — allegedly in exchange for official favors — forms half of the federal indictment against him, though the indictment notes that the law firm wasn’t aware of Silver’s alleged transgressions.

Counsel Financial describes itself as offering “financial solutions exclusively for plaintiffs’ counsel”:

Founded in 2001 by attorneys, Counsel Financial is a highly specialized commercial lender offering loans and credit lines solely to law firms whose revenues are derived from contingency fee practice.

We offer litigation law firms the ultimate financing alternative to personal lines of credit and recycled after-tax profits. We grant substantial lines of credit to litigators based on the total value of their anticipated contingent fees.

Today, Counsel Financial is the leading law firm financing company in the country and has provided more than $500 million in credit lines to attorneys since inception.

Paul Cody, president of Counsel Financial, was a former CFO of JoRon, which his bio describes as “a closely held private equity fund with investment interests ranging from non-recourse plaintiff funding to commodity-based financial products.”

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CONTACT: Press Office
(518) 474-4015
FOR RELEASE: Immediately
September 17, 2013

State Pension Fund Searching For New York Investments

$1 Billion Allocated to In-State Private Equity Program for New York Companies;
Exited Investments Have Generated 20 Percent Return

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that nearly $400 million is available for investing in New York-based companies through the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s In-State Private Equity Program. Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has added $624 million, or more than double the amount for investing, to the program for a total commitment of more than $1 billion.

DiNapoli released a report today on the progress of the In-State Program after hosting a roundtable discussion with private equity managers. The report’s key points include:

  • $1.08 billion made available to private equity managers for New York State investments;
  • $684 million has already been invested in 252 New York State companies;
  • $293 million returned to the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) on $179 million exited investments in 71 companies; and
  • $6.7 billion in total has been invested between the Fund and partner private equity firms, including $2.4 billion in Upstate New York companies.

“The In-State Private Equity Program has proven to be a win for the state’s economy and for the state pension fund. For every dollar invested in exited companies, we’ve made $1.60,” DiNapoli said. “We’ve invested in 252 companies in New York and put thousands of New Yorkers to work. We still have nearly $400 million that we want to invest in established, growing or startup companies. Our message to these entrepreneurs is if you’re prepared to make a commitment to New York and can demonstrate a compelling case for our investment, we’ll make a commitment to you and your business.”

Through the In-State Program, the New York State Common Retirement Fund has established long-term partnerships with 18 private equity managers from around the state who invest in companies that require capital for growth, to refinance ownership or for early stage investment. The program is designed to provide investment returns consistent with the risk of private equity by making investments that meet fiduciary standards.

In addition to providing the Fund with a 20 percent internal rate of return on fully exited investments in the last five years, the program has helped generate jobs and private sector investment in New York. Since its inception, the program has helped create or retain nearly 4,000 jobs across New York, leveraging $6.7 billion in capital.

The state legislature created the In-State Private Equity Program in 1999 as part of the Jobs 2000 legislation. The original investment goal was $250 million, which DiNapoli achieved in October 2007. He later added $383 million to the program in November 2007 and another $241 million in later years.

In releasing the report, DiNapoli was joined by a private equity firm and a participating company to highlight the impact of the program.

“Without the support of Comptroller DiNapoli and the Fund, we would not have been able to invest in New York-based companies such as Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Buddy Media that have created several thousand jobs and delivered returns in the upper quartile for all venture capital investments in the country over the last eight years,” said Jordan Levy, CEO of Softbank Capital. “With the new fund, we will generate additional returns for the New York State Common Retirement Fund and help local companies brighten the digital future for all New Yorkers.”

The Fund has provided $100 million to Buffalo-based Softbank Capital to invest in New York companies. The first $50 million investment in 2005 generated 43 investments. Another $50 million allocation was made in May 2013.

“Support from the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s In-State Private Equity Program has been instrumental to the growth and expansion of Autotask. Since embarking on this partnership, we have quadrupled the number of employment positions in the Capital Region,” said Mark Cattini, CEO of Autotask. “We now help 5,000 customers provide technology services more efficiently and profitably to their two million clients around the world. Our success is evidence of what a program like this can mean to high-tech companies in New York State.”

The Fund has made two investments totaling $6.3 million in Autotask, located in East Greenbush. The most recent investment was through Hamilton Lane for $3.3 million in 2008.

Throughout the fall, DiNapoli will be holding meetings and participating in events to inform New York entrepreneurs and businesses about the opportunities available through the In-State Program. His first event was in Rochester on Sept. 16 and other events will be held in Buffalo and Syracuse in the coming weeks.

Investment data by year and region follows:

Basic Region # of Companies Dollar Amount
NYC Total 167 278.3
Suburbs Total 22 98.0
Upstate Total 63 308.0
Total 252 684.3
Region # of Companies Dollar Amount
Capital District 13 75.3
Central 4 27.5
Finger Lakes 21 81.2
Hudson Valley 17 69.8
Long Island 8 36.2
Mohawk Valley 2 27.2
North Country 2 10.5
NYC 167 278.3
Southern Tier 6 23.0
Western 12 55.3
Total 252 684.3

Copy of the progress report

More information on the program or company eligibility

About the Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension plan in the United States with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries from state and local governments. The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments and was valued at $160.4 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

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