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Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell this time invites hedge fund heavies to ‘intimate and private’ dinner

Friday, July 23, 2010
Opalesque Industry Update – Oops, she’s doing it again. Practically snubbed by New York hedge fund managers the first time she tried to lure them by sending them an invitation letter (apparently), this time Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell has upped the game and is offering some face time.

In another letter sent to Timothy Selby, president of the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable last Friday, Rell invited him and several of his colleagues to an “intimate and private” dinner at a posh steakhouse in Darien on August 2nd.

The New York Hedge Fund Roundtable is a non-governmental organization consisting of more than 1,200 hedge fund managers, focused in the advancement and education of industry professionals and the promotion of ethical standards.

"We have much to discuss!” Rell declared in her letter obtained by the New York Post. She added: "I am personally inviting you and a few of your colleagues to meet with me. The meeting will be intimate, direct and private.”

Rell criticized
Rell’s latest move has attracted some criticisms. The New York Mag bannered: ”Shameless Connecticut Invites Hedge Fund Honchos to ‘Intimate Dinner’”, and said “Um, desperate much? Apparently even Selby kind of thinks so: He told the Post he's ‘not sure’ if he'll accept the invite.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also reacted strongly to the on-going border war between the states of New York and Connecticut regarding hedge fund taxes. In a press conference yesterday, he warned that Rell’s efforts to entice fund managers to move their businesses away from New York and to Connecticut has already gained some grounds. He blamed lawmakers from Albany for creating the mess.

"She’s doing what she should do. And we should be out there doing the same thing -- making this a more attractive place to do business. There’s some things the city can do and we’re doing those, I think the state is not doing its job," Bloomberg was quoted as saying by NY1.com.

In an effort to raise an additional $50m a year, lawmakers from Albany last month proposed the controversial carried interest tax that targets hedge fund managers who work in New York but live elsewhere. New York Governor David Paterson initially backed the plan, but later backtracked after drawing heavy criticisms from Wall Street.

The Democratic Governor said he was withdrawing his support to the proposed tax measure because investment companies could easily avoid paying the said tax by moving to other states, especially Connecticut.

Rell takes Round 1 in border way with New York
The feisty Connecticut governor drew first blood in its on-again, off-again border war with the state of New York. On June 30, Rell began her “offensive” by sending a letter to big New York financial firms, including J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co., Paulson & Co., and Selby to invite them to move to Connecticut to avoid the additional tax burden. In the letter, Rell promised that her state would do anything to assist the industry in these trying times as she urged them to pack up and transfer to her state (See Opalesque Exclusive: here).

Selby reacted positively to the letter and said some hedge funds may consider the “generous offer of assistance” by Connecticut.

No laughing matter
Bloomberg said Rell’s latest cross-the-border pitch is no laughing matter.

"What am I going to say to her? I’m gonna say to her, Raise your taxes? She’s gonna say to me, 'Hey bozo, you guys should cut it.' What is this? This isn’t funny. This is our jobs," Bloomberg told NY1.com.

But as far as poaching hedge fund managers and other finance executives from New York is concerned, Rell is persistent. “I want you to know . . . that my invitation to move your business here is not only still open -- it is in earnest," her letter said.
- Komfie Manalo

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