New York City's $54 billion pension for civil employees rejected a recommendation by the comptroller's office to invest in a hedge fund run by one of the biggest financial backers of charter schools.
The New York City Employees' Retirement System, whose members include lunchroom workers and other school aides, voted against the $49 million investment with Joel Greenblatt's Gotham Asset Management, according to records obtained under a freedom-of-information request after city Comptroller Scott Stringer and the pension fund declined to disclose the vote results.
Mr. Greenblatt is co-founder of Success Academy, New York's biggest charter school network.
Trustees representing three unions, the Public Advocate's Office and the borough presidents of Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx voted against the investment. Trustees representing the mayor, comptroller and the borough presidents of Brooklyn and Staten Island approved.
“We have some serious concerns in what Gotham Capital presented to us in response to some basic questions about the education of students at charter schools,” Henry Garrido, executive director of District Council 37, the city's largest municipal employees union, said in an e-mail before the Feb. 24 vote.
As the investment adviser to the city's five pension funds, Mr. Stringer's Bureau of Asset Management vets investment proposals and makes recommendations to the boards. The staff compiles investment meeting agendas.
“The comptroller's Bureau of Asset Management selects investments solely on the merits to safeguard the pension funds for 700,000 working men and women who rely on them,” said Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for Mr. Stringer, in a Feb. 24 e-mail. Mr. Greenblatt declined to comment.