San Diego Padres owner John Moores is a member of the board of regents of the University of California. So is fellow Rancho Santa Fe denizen Gerry Parsky. Moores contributed heavily to Democratic governor Gray Davis before and after being named to the coveted post in 1999. Parsky is a big fund-raiser for those of the GOP persuasion, including George W. Bush and ex-governor Pete Wilson, who made him a regent. Then there is Warren Hellman, who isn't a regent but has plenty of clout within the massive statewide university system. He's a Cal grad, an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, and father of Frances, former UCSD physics professor now at Berkeley who was married to UC president Bob Dynes until their divorce last year. The same year Moores became a regent, he and Dynes joined the board of La Jolla's Leap Wireless; Dynes said Moores recommended him. Dynes endorsed a public subsidy for the downtown ballpark; Moores lobbied hard for Dynes, then chancellor of UCSD, to become university president.
Moores and Hellman did business together as well: JMI Equity, a Moores-owned investment firm, partnered with Hellman's firm, Hellman & Friedman, in buying Blackbaud, Inc., a South Carolina maker of accounting software geared to nonprofit organizations. Moores and Hellman also teamed up to purchase Mitchell International, a San Diego outfit that peddles data to the car insurance claims business.
Now Mitchell is being sold, and the new buyer is none other than Gerry Parsky and his Beverly Hills-based Aurora Capital Group. According to a release from Mitchell, Aurora is being joined in the deal by the General Electric Pension Trust. That isn't the only Hellman-Parsky connection of recent note. Last week the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Parsky, just appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to a panel studying ways to cut public pension costs, handles $150 million in investments for CalPERS, the state employee retirement fund. Also on the panel is Matt Berger, a senior advisor at Hellman & Friedman, which runs $600 million of the fund's loose change.