U.S. authorities yesterday charged Alan B. Bond, a New York-based fund manager whose largest client was the pension fund of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, with taking $6.9 million in kickbacks from brokerage firms to help pay for, among other things, a Florida beachfront condo and 75 antique and luxury vehicles.
A federal grand jury in New York handed up an 11-count indictment against Bond, accusing him of conspiracy, fraud, bribery and making false statements. The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed a related civil lawsuit against Bond and a second defendant, Robert Spruill.
Bond denied the charges, said John Siffert, his attorney. "Mr. Bond will be entering a not guilty plea and he will contest the charges. We expect he will be vindicated."
Frederick Schaffer, Spruill's attorney, declined to comment.
Bond, 38, whose other prominent clients included the National Basketball Association and the City University of New York, was a high-profile fund manager and a frequent guest on PBS's "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser." The alleged kickbacks were on investments that were made through his former investment advisory firm, Bond, Procope Capital Management.
The Metro system's $2.3 billion pension fund is overseen by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689. Bond managed more than $200 million of the funds. The SEC lawsuit alleged that Bond used some of the kickback money to purchase gratuities for pension fund trustees.
Specifically, the SEC alleged Bond provided former Local 689 president James Thomas, who was a trustee of the Metro pension fund, with tickets to Dallas Cowboy football games and Broadway shows, paid for his rooms at the prestigious St. Regis Hotel in New York, bought him expensive clothes and dinners, and supplied him with limousines and plane tickets. The lawsuit alleged that Thomas received gratuities worth at least $15,000.
Thomas was not named in the lawsuits. SEC attorney Clifford C. Hyatt said the investigation is continuing.
Fred Marx, the attorney for Local 689, said the union was also investigating the charges but declined to comment further. Thomas could not be reached for comment.
Metro's pension fund hired Bond to manage part of its funds in June 1992, according to Metro spokesman Ray Feldmann. The lawsuits alleged that from September 1993 through November 1998, Bond would send stock trades to three stock-brokerage firms that had agreed to mark up the transactions and then kick back 57 to 80 percent of the increase to Bond.
Wall Street firms often agree to charge slightly higher fees and return a portion to customers in the form of soft dollars, or money spent on the client's behalf. The use of soft dollars is legal if they are used to pay for market research.
Bond used three brokerage firms, Brenner Securities Corp., Lintz Glover White & Co. and Value Investing Partners. Spruill worked at each firm during the period that Bond allegedly sent business there. Brenner Securities is now defunct. Lintz Glover President George Lintz and VIP Chairman Kevin R. Greene did not return phone calls.
Metro has not determined how much, if anything, the scheme cost the pension fund. The fund's money grew under Bond's management, Feldmann said.
The Metro pension fund's board of trustees was informed in May of the SEC investigation, and launched its own inquiry. In August, it terminated Bond's contract and withheld his last payment of $173,000, Feldmann said.
Bond received an MBA from Harvard University in 1987 and worked for Goldman Sachs & Co. and W.R. Lazard & Co.