Los Angeles venture capitalist and philanthropist Elliot Broidy, 52, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he paid $1 million in gifts to New York public pension officials to win $250 million in investment capital for his private equity fund.
Broidy, whose case was being prosecuted in New York City, faces a possible prison sentence of up to four years at his sentencing on June 10, the Los Angeles Times reported.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo characterized Broidy's actions as bribery, saying he sent a top state official and relatives on luxury trips to Israel and Italy and paid the rent and hospital bills of a bureaucrat's girlfriend to get investment money for his Century City firm, Markstone Capital Partners, according to the Times.
Broidy even bankrolled a movie production for the brothers of one official, authorities said.
"This is an old-fashioned payoff of state officials," Cuomo said in remarks reported by the Times. "This is effectively bribery."
Broidy's New York guilty plea is the latest development in a series of inquiries into investment decisions by public pension funds, including the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), which has made $50 million in investment commitments with Broidy's company, the Times reported.
Over the last decade, Broidy and his wife made nearly $900,000 in campaign contributions, including donations to two CalPERS board members, to officials who were seeking or held statewide political offices at the time, according to the newspaper.
CalPERS says it is evaluating its partnership with Markstone and looking at its legal options.