Private Equity, Public Money

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Empty stores along Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. S. Ira Grossman hide caption

toggle caption S. Ira Grossman



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On today's Planet Money:

Special guest host Lisa Chow of WNYC shares the story of a major pension scandal here in New York. Two placement agents, who essentially act as brokers between pension funds and Wall Street, are accused of taking kickbacks in return for providing special access to the state's pension fund. With the help of former comptroller Carl McCall, Chow explains why the relationship between private equity and pension funds is ripe for corruption.

The case has put a spotlight on the relationship between private equity and pension funds and it's raising all kinds of concerns beyond corruption. Since these funds are private, taxpayers don't know where the pension money is actually going. So what happens to the retirement of firefighters and garbage collectors if the private equity bubble pops? NYU Stern School of Business Professor Roy Smith explains how the two got together in the first place.

Bonus: A recession-worthy lunch deal in Paris.

Download the podcast; or subscribe. Intro music: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's "Young Adult Friction." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr.

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Prix-fix dejeuner in Paris. @Alzoo hide caption

toggle caption @Alzoo

@Alzoo sends us this photo from Paris via Twitter:

Down the road from where I work. Super cheap for a lunch menu.



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