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Questions go unanswered

None of the three elected officials responsible for oversight of the State Board of Administration or its executive director agreed to be interviewed. The St. Petersburg Times submitted written questions, which none of the elected officials answered. Instead, each issued a brief statement.

Here are two of the questions they chose not to answer, followed by their statements.

QUESTION 1: Without proper federal certification, the SBA bought billions of dollars of prohibited securities for local governments in 2007. …

Did you know about these prohibited investments and the scope of the unauthorized trading? If you knew, how do you justify making investments that violated the rules? If you didn't know, why not?

QUESTION 2: You and others blamed Wall Street, saying the bad securities were "dumped'' on Florida or some companies doing business with the SBA may have committed fraud. …

Did you know the SBA had been told repeatedly it was not qualified to buy securities for local governments like those that went bad — but the agency went ahead and bought them anyway?

Gov. Charlie Crist

Spokesman Sterling Ivey wrote: "I understand that you have been provided a letter from the attorney representing the SBA and due to the ongoing litigation surrounding the LGIP (Local Government Investment Pool) issue, it is not appropriate for the Governor to comment directly at this time.''

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink

Communications director Jerri Franz wrote: "It's important to point out again that Trustees are not involved in the day-to-day investment process of the SBA. I understand that you have been provided a letter from the attorney representing the SBA that outlines the state's position and it is not appropriate for the CFO to comment directly at this time.

"… CFO Sink led the process in 2007 to immediately mitigate the damages to LGIP participants by taking appropriate action to temporarily suspend withdrawals and hire an experienced, independent financial firm to develop a plan of action with the input of the pool's investors. The LGIP today benefits from stronger oversight, transparency and accountability as led by CFO Sink.''

Attorney General Bill McCollum

Communications director Ryan Wiggins wrote: "As it relates to the broker dealers, we are assisting the OFR (Office of Financial Regulation) in their investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss any further.''

The SBA

Spokesman Dennis MacKee said executive director Ashbel C. Williams Jr. was out of the office and unavailable to be interviewed. Attorney Michael Pucillo sent a two-page statement that is available, along with other documents, at links.tampabay.com.

Questions go unanswered 09/18/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 20, 2010 11:04am]
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