The same man who oversaw MF Global’s $1.2 billion in missing funds, Bradley I. Abelow, is also currently listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website as the current chairman of the EPA’s Financial Advisory Board.
From the Washington Times:
During two days of recent congressional hearings into how as much as $1.2 billion disappeared from MF Global customer accounts, the chief operating officer of the imploding investment firm responded again and again that he did not know.
Yet as the House and Senate interrogated Bradley I. Abelow and other top executives at MF Global Holdings Ltd., lawmakers did not mention Mr. Abelow’s role as a financial adviser for the Environmental Protection Agency, which as of Tuesday listed him as the chairman of its financial advisory board.
Even as he finds himself the public face of a bankruptcy and admitted to lawmakers that he had no idea how client funds disappeared, Congress and the administration have voiced no public concern about Mr. Abelow’s role advising the $8.6 billion government agency on its finances.
Mr. Abelow also served as former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s chief of staff before Mr. Corzine went on to become MF Global’s CEO. Interestingly, current EPA Administrator Lisa Smith also previously served as then-Gov. Corzine’s chief of staff. Whether the Corzine connection played any role in Mr. Abelow’s appointment to the chairmanship of the EPA’s Financial Advisory Board is as yet unclear.
Mr. Abelow, who as recently as July 2011 appears to have donated $30,800 in campaign donations to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 in June to President Barack Obama, said over a dozen times during congressional hearings that he didn’t know how MF Global customers’ funds disappeared under his watch.
Still, during a Dec. 13 hearing, Mr. Abelow, whose compensation at MF Global involved a guaranteed $3 million, told the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, that he’s deeply sorry to MF Global’s investors and employees:
As the president and chief operating officer of MF Global, I am deeply sorry for the hardship they have all endured…While I know that nothing I say can ease their pain, I hope that through my testimony today, I can help this committee understand what happened at MF Global and how we are attempting to unwind the company in a manner that provides maximum value for all parties.
Several unanswered questions remain:
1. Why was Mr. Abelow’s role as chairman of the EPA’s Financial Advisory Board never brought up in either of his two appearances before congressional committees this month?
2. How did Mr. Abelow win his chairmanship on the EPA’s Financial Advisory Board?
3. Did current EPA Administrator Lisa Smith appoint or recommend Mr. Abelow to serve on the EPA’s Financial Advisory Board?
The biggest unanswered question for MF Global investors remains: where is the $1.2 billion in missing MF Global funds?
Judging from Jon Corzine and Bradley I. Abelow’s testimonies on Capitol Hill, that may be a question that remains unanswered for some time.