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Texas’ Madoff money

I’m not particularly upset that Texas had some money invested with Bernie Madoff, which is now gone. I mean, I wish that wasn’t the case, but he snookered an awful lot of people and organizations, so it’s neither shocking nor negligent that a Texas fund was among the investors. I’m glad the amount was a relatively small one, in the grand scheme of things. What does bother me is that we’re just now finding out about it, and only because someone else figured it out and asked Comptroller Susan Combs about it.

Combs spokesman R.J. DeSilva said Wednesday that the $19.5 million was written off last December after Austin Capital notified the state the money had been lost when Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed. The treasury had been investing with Austin Capital since 2006.


Though Austin Capital’s losses have been public for months, Combs’ office did not publicly acknowledge the losses by the state of Texas until contacted by the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News.


Combs wrote an op-ed on Feb. 26 complaining that Madoff’s lack of transparency had caused investors across the United States to lose money but made no mention of her own agency’s losses.

“While there are no angry shareholders or investors to complain, we are accountable to the taxpayers who fill state coffers with their hard-earned dollars,” Combs said in her op-ed urging transparency in government.

Way to set your own example there, Susan. Were you ever going to disclose this loss if the newsies had come knocking on your door?

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