Former CalPERS chief admits taking bribes

Maybe you saw this while I was away on vacation: The former head of CalPERS admitted taking $200,000 in cash bribes — in paper bags and a shoe box.

Federico R. Buenrostro, who long trumpeted his innocence, pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud.

Buenrostro admitted that in 2007 he receive two $50,000 payments in paper bags and another $100,000 in a shoe box from Alfred Villalobo, a former CalPERS board member turned “placement agent.”

Villalobo, who wanted to influence CalPERS’ investment decisions, admits helpfully advising Buenrostro on hiding the bribes from banking officials, by never depositing more than $10,000 at a time.

CalPERS — which has made Stockton’s life miserable with its fiscal irresponsibility and bullying – issued a statement: “We condemn the misconduct and ethical breaches admitted today by Mr. Buenrostro. The violation of the sacred trust of our members, employers and the public can’t be tolerated, and that trust must never be compromised.”

That’s a laugh. The public has no sacred trust in CalPERS. It trusts only that the pension giant will attempt to remain above federal bankruptcy law in order to burden cities eternally with unsustainable pensions.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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