Friday, February 27, 2009

Cerberus Debtor Named To Presidential Auto Task Force

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Steven “Steve” Rattner of Quadrangle Group will join the Presidential Task Force on Autos as an advisor to National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers. Rattner has no publicly-known experience in the automotive industry, although as a former newspaper man and print media investor, he surely knows a thing or two about dying industries. Anyway, as we reported earlier, Rattner’s major qualification for the position (he was previously being considered for “car czar” before that position was merged into the PTFA) appears to be that he’s a major Obama fundraiser, and is married to the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee.

In fact, Michael Wolff “strongly implied” that the New York papers hushed up a DUI of Mrs Rattner’s. This trope led Gawker to infer that “it’s definitely possible (Obama) ruled out Rattner to save themselves some headaches,” when news broke that there would be no single czar.

Ironically almost everyone seems to have missed the real scandal with Rattner’s appointment to the PTFA. Rattner’s Quadrangle Group reportedly owes Cerberus Capital Management either $125m or the Maxim/Blender empire, a debt Chrysler owners Cerberus say is in default. And now Rattner will have a say in Chrysler’s fate. Conflict of interest much?

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