“When asked to clarify its position on the Emerald Fund, no response was forthcoming”

On Monday Máirtín pointed to an “interesting editorial” in the Irish Echo calling for “new thinking” over the reported $180 million of funds previously committed to the much vaunted Emerald Infrastructure Development Fund – which has failed to deliver any investment since it was announced in April 2008. The then New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson was keen to promote the Fund whilst, as mentioned here, the Fund was always expected to invest in projects here, in Ireland, and in the US. The Irish News’ John Manley has been trying to get some answers from current NY City Comptroller, John Liu, about the Fund’s future.

The Irish News yesterday asked the New York City Comptroller’s office if its public pension funds were continuing to back the Emerald Fund. Its response failed to give any clear commitment. “As comptroller, I am committed to making certain that the pension funds remain diversified and that we achieve the best possible return for our members, retirees and beneficiaries,” the statement said. “The New York City pension funds have long been a leader in promoting equality through the adoption of the fair employment standards embodied in the MacBride (sic) Principles by corporations operating in Northern Ireland and which are held within the New York City’s pension portfolio. “I will continue to seek investments in Northern Ireland that represent an excellent opportunity to promote economic growth and posperity while earning a market rate return.” When asked to clarify its position on the Emerald Fund, no response was forthcoming.

And, as detailed in May 2009, there’s only been one payment made by the Emerald Fund

When the private Emerald Infrastructure Development Fund made its first filing with the Securities Exchange Commission in October, it listed one of the comptroller’s oldest and closest supporters, a broker named William Howell [“a generous campaign contributor and fundraiser for Thompson”], as its placement agent on the deal. Howell’s fee, released pursuant to a Freedom of Information request last week by Thompson’s office, was 2 percent of the pension fund’s investment—a total of $3 million, plus unspecified bonuses.