* After months of waiting, Bruce Rauner finally talked with Greg Hinz about his employment of convicted influence peddler Stu Levine…
When asked this by his opponents at a candidate debate earlier this month, Mr. Rauner said he “didn’t know” Mr. Levine at the time — Mr. Levine wasn’t indicted on federal corruption charges until a year later — and that GTCR got the work strictly because it produced good returns.
“I didn’t have ‘a relationship’ with Levine. I didn’t know him,” Mr. Rauner told me. “I didn’t interact with him. What I’ve been told is that he was an employee of a company in which we had a minority interest.”
In further comments over our tea, Mr. Rauner said GTCR’s ownership in the medical-services company that employed Mr. Levine varied from 5 percent to 40 percent, depending on the time. Two other GTCR officials — not him — served on the board of the firm, he said. And the medical services firm was one of scores owned by GTCR at the time, all of which had a number of highly paid officials, he said, though I doubt too many people at just one firm made $300,000 a year.
Mr. Rauner added one other thing: Mr. Levine’s original hiring by the medical firm predates GTCR’s acquisition of the company by at least a year, he said. If that’s true, it strengthens his case that Mr. Levine wasn’t fixing things for GTCR. But Mr. Rauner said he does not have access to the actual Levine hiring contract, which was extended by a company that no longer exists. Nor could he provide a copy of Mr. Levine’s departure agreement in 2004 or 2005 — after Mr. Levine was indicted on federal corruption charges — or say whether Mr. Levine received any financial settlement.
Asked whether he played the Illinois political game with Mr. Levine and others in getting pension work, Mr. Rauner replied that GTCR would make its pitch “to the staffs of the pension funds. . . .We did not interact with the board members.”
* But former TRS executive director Jon Bauman had this to say…
“Clearly, no one disclosed the (Rauner/Levine) relationship at the appropriate time,” Mr. Bauman emailed me. “On one hand, GTCR was one of four owners in a company that was one of maybe 80 to 100 in (its) portfolio. On the other, limited partners pay general partners (like GTCR) a good fee to know what’s going on in their portfolio companies and to be accountable for them. I’m missing the accountability here.”
After being against the Rauner company’s investment offer, Levine voted for it at the next meeting.