Local pols reject Morgan Stanley price fixing settlement

Michael Gianaris

January 23, 2012

The Queens Courier wrote an article about the Department of Justice's $4.8 million settlement with Morgan Stanley for their illegal pricing scheme, which cost ratepayers roughly $300 million. Senator Gianaris and other local politicians are pushing the Dept. of Justice to increase the fine, arguing that the current settlement is unacceptable and would allow Morgan Stanley to keep millions in profit.

Local elected officials are expending “energy” to ensure Morgan Stanley doesn’t get a quick “fix” to its illegal pricing ploy.

Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. are pushing a federal judge to reject the proposed settlement in the price-fixing case involving the investment bank and two western Queens energy plants – Astoria Generating Company and KeySpan Energy Corporation.

The scheme, which caused ratepayers to lose roughly $300 million over two years, generated $21.6 million for Morgan Stanley.

Gianaris and Vallone recently sent a letter to the judge overseeing the case, William Pauley, requesting a re-evaluation of the $4.8 million settlement reached between the bank and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The officials are hoping the fine is increased, and believe a provision should be included compensating ratepayers who suffered financial losses.

“Allowing a deep-pocketed investment bank to get away with just a slap on the wrist would be treated as the cost of doing business and would continue to permit the bank to reap the benefits of its illicit profits,” Gianaris said. “The settlement proposal is an insult to ratepayers during a difficult economic time, and I encourage Judge Pauley to protect the public by rejecting this proposal.”

Read the full article here