Mack the Knife
Diana Snowden Goldschmidt is a high-priced consultant, a former Pacific Power executive, and the wife of the fellow who's cornered the West Coast market on the increasingly in-demand title "disgraced former governor." Now she's under investigation by the Oregon Attorney General's office, under suspicion of a conflict of interest in connection with her vote or votes as a member of the Oregon Investment Council. Ms. Goldschmidt voted to commit state pension money to investments in Texas Pacific Group, the Texas-based investor group that's trying to take over Portland General Electric, including a vote just as that group was tapping her husband to be an investor in, and the chair of, its local entity in the PGE deal. (Of course, much of that's history now that Hizzoner's little problem has come to light.)
According to press reports, Ms. G. voted to invest $300 million in Texas Pacific last Oct. 29. As long-time readers of the blog may recall, her husband's role as chair of the new Texas Pacific Oregon company was announced on Nov. 18. The story that circulated at that time was that Mr. G. claimed he was first approached by Texas Pacific to head up the new company at an out-of-town meeting on Oct. 30.
Did the wife know on Oct. 29 that her husband was scheduled to fly down -- I think it was San Francisco -- to meet with Texas Pacific people the next day? If so, did she ask him what the meeting was supposed to be about? If she did, did he tell her?
Apparently it's the second pending investigation of one of the Goldschmidts. Federal lawmakers are also reported to be looking at Mr. G.'s shadowy role as a million-dollar "consultant" for SAIF, the state-run worker's compensation insurance provider.
The "probe" into Ms. G.'s affairs makes me laugh a little. I can't help having that reaction when I hear "investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice" used in connection with a cunning West Hills Portland figure, especially a Democratic power broker. My own observation of Oregon Justice over the past few years is that it's become quite toothless at best, and politically bought off at worst. To think that Attorney General Hardy Myers is going to actually do something punitive against either of the Goldschmidts seems totally far-fetched to me.
This time around, though, there's a glimmer of a remote possibility that something serious might happen. The state is bringing in an outside sheriff to take a look at the situation, and he's a straight-shooter of a guy. According to the AP story on the investigation:
Edward J. McAniff, a law professor-in-residence at the University of Oregon Law School, will help conduct the review, Edwards and Drummond said in a letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
Edward "Ted" McAniff, who has been mentioned in this blog before, is a semi-retired partner at the Los Angeles megabucks law firm O'Melveny & Myers. He spends a good part of every year nowadays in Central Oregon. He's also a visiting law professor on a regular basis at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Ted, or "Mack the Knife" as he's sometimes known, is a brilliant man who knows as much about banking and finance as anyone. He's Catholic, and I mean that in a good way. He is a sweet guy at heart, but a tough customer who doesn't suffer fools gladly. He takes no prisoners. Legend has it that he used to require his kids to do Marine Corps-style calesthenics with him before school every morning.
I've always held Ted's ethics in the highest regard. I have no idea what, if any, prior connections he or the O'Melveny firm have had with the Oregon Investment Council, Texas Pacific Group, or the Goldschmidts, but at this stage in Ted's life I don't see much for him to gain by sweeping more Goldschmidt droppings under the large State Capitol Rug. It will be very interesting to see (if we're ever allowed to) just what he finds, and what he has to say about it.
Do us proud, Ted.