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Extra: Mayer Brown Loses Illinois Bond Counsel Contract

Extra: Mayer Brown Loses Illinois Bond Counsel Contract

(Chicago) – Governor Pat Quinn’s Office of Management today announced that it has selected a new law firm to serve as the state bond counsel, dumping its current counsel, Mayer Brown.

The Quinn Administration has selected the law firm Chapman & Cutler.

In a story broke by Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller, Mayer Brown’s former chairman and current partner, Ty Fahner, got embroiled in a controversy last summer over seeming to claim in a speech, which was recorded, that he had encouraged Wall Street ratings agencies to downgrade Illinois’ credit score over the state’s financial problems.

Fahner’s quote:

“The Civic Committee, not me, but me and some of the people that make up the Civic Committee, some of the same names I mentioned before, did meet with and call, in one case it was in person, a couple of calls to Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, and say, ‘How in the hell can you guys do this? You’re an enabler to let the state continue. You keep threatening more and more and more.’

“And I think now we’ve backed off, because we don’t want to be the straw that breaks the back, But if you watch what happened over the last few years, it’s been steadily down. Before that, it’s been the blind eye, and that’s a whole different topic, as you know, about how the rating agencies act and don’t act. That’s more in your field and stuff. It has been irresponsible. We have told them that we thought they were being irresponsible, but we stopped that a couple months ago. I do know that we suggested that they talk to the governor, the governor’s staff to see if he could give them comfort on where the state was going, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re really close now. I hope we’re close.”

Now it seems that Mayer Brown, who won the contract in 2011, has paid the price for Fahner’s claims, which he later attempted to walk back – losing at $1 million in bond fees that come with being the state’s bond counsel.

In addition to Mayer Brown, Chapman & Cutler beat out 12 other firms to snag the contract.

newsdesk@illinoisobserver.net

Twitter @IL_Observer

(*Note to Political Insiders: The Illinois Observer also offers our exclusive, subscriber-only e-newsletter – The Insider – to, well, Illinois political insiders. Each Tuesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m. The Insider, whose Consulting Editor is Capitol Fax Publisher Rich Miller, arrives in e-mail boxes with the choicest Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago political gossip, insider information, and news tips. For more information and a free, 4-week trial subscription to The Insider, please go here).

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