In the early days of the city’s pension problems, the terrorist attacks were often cited as a reason for the pension deficit, as they contributed to an economic slowdown. And, in an interview with private investigators, a former aid to former Mayor Dick Murphy, first guessed that the events of Sept. 11 could have delayed the release of an important report into city finances in 2001. (The Kroll report released last week implies that the Blue Ribbon Committee report on city finances was delayed so that ballpark construction bonds could be released without any negative information.)
A summary of the interview with Murphy’s former aid, Dennis Gibson, states:
Mr. Romano (Kroll’s attorney) inquired about the time line for the publication of the BRC Report, asking in particular why the Report was not issued in September 2001 as originally planned. Mr. Gibson first posited that the events of 9/11 delayed the investigation. However, when pressed by Mr. Romano, Mr. Gibson could not explain how 9/11 had more than a temporary impact on the schedule. Mr. Gibson also explained that (former city auditor Ed) Ryan had some concerns about the potential impact of the BRC Report on the “financial community,” in particular the bond market and ratings agencies. Mr. Gibson recalled hearing, either at a BRC Meeting or during a conversation with Ryan and Kern, that Ryan believed that many of the “well-meaning volunteers” of the BRC had a limited understanding of the financial problems of the City. In particular, Mr. Gibson recalled that Ryan disagreed with Richard Vortmann about many of the issues concerning the Retirement System and that Ryan believed it was not so important to focus on these issues.
Romano later questioned whether the delay of the report had anything to do with the issuance of the ballpark bonds, to which Gibson first said he didn’t specifically associate the two.
“Mr. Gibson ultimately clarified that he did understand at the time that there were concerns about the negative impact the BRC report may have on the City’s current bond ratings,” the report states.