BVI Company among five companies to receive pension-fund fees

Five companies, one of which is domiciled in BVI, have now become the subject of an investigation in connection with pension-fund fees received by the top political consultant to former Albany state Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

Hank Morris listed the five companies on his report filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; four of these companies were registered on the address of Morris home in East Hampton. The fifth company, Athena Capitol Advisors Ltd., has its registered address in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Concerning this BVI company, Morris listed himself as a 50% owner, vice president, and treasurer.

Each of the five Morris’ firms is said to have received placement fees from companies that won pension-fund business during Hevesi’s four years in office.

The investigators think that another firm that employed Morris – Searle & Co. – received between $13 million and $18 million from firms that made business with the state pension fund. The major part of this money was kept by Morris. Also, Searle & Co. recently amended its latest filings with the Security Exchange Commission, to show that it took in $7.7 million in placement fees in 2005-2006, and paid out $7.3 million in placement-fee expenses.

Now the investigation is focused on the fact whether firms looking to do business with the pension fund were somehow improperly tied to Morris, and whether Searle and Morris did anything for the fees they received.

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