Caesars Entertainment’s Public Pension Fiasco in California

Billions of dollars have been lost to Caesars Entertainment by California’s teachers pensions (CalSTRS) and public workers (CalPERS) through private equity fat cats Apollo Management and TPG Capital since 2008. Did you know CalSTRS/CalPERS are major limited partners in the world’s largest casino entertainment company? Caesars Entertainment has managed to lose $10 billion to the detriment of hard working teachers and police officers in California. The taxpayers of California also have a piece of the action by betting on Black. Apollo Management’s CEO, Leon Black, raided the pensions through a placement agent (Alfred Villalobos) who collected $60 million from Apollo Management. The placement agent wined and dined CalPERS officials to persuade them to invest $600 million for 10% of Apollo Global Management according to a civil complaint filed by California’s Attorney General (Jerry) Edmund G. Brown in 2010. Apollo Management paid for a private jet to transport a CalPERS high ranked official to New York City from Sacramento. The official and Villalobos attended a high society benefit honoring Black. The CalPERS official pushed through the Apollo Management sale a month later.

Apollo Management’s Black fingerprints are in this indictment, but nothing stuck to “Teflon Leon.” The money invested from CalPERS/CalSTRS was bundled into the Harrah’s/Caesars Entertainment (Hamlet Holdings) buyout in Jan. 2008. Apollo Investment Fund L.P. VI and the 10% ownership of Apollo Management by California’s public employees’ pension funds assisted in buying Harrah’s/Caesars are shown in the SEC filing. Caesars Entertainment later extended much of its debt obligations to 2015 and required teachers and law enforcement pensions to take a haircut in the process. The billions lost to Caesars Entertainment won’t be known until then. Who allowed California’s teachers and public workers to be owners of the world largest casino?

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