Ken Leighton 2:30 p.m., April 23
SDCERA Loses Amaranth Decision, Will Appeal
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed a securities fraud lawsuit filed in 2007 by the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA) against Amaranth Advisors, a hedge fund that collapsed. SDCERA invested $175 million in Amaranth and got $90 million back. It hopes to get the remainder back if its appeal is successful, confirms Brian White, SDCERA's chief executive. Amaranth went out of business after a trader lost $6.5 billion of its $9 billion making bad bets in natural gas futures. The court ruled that Amaranth had made disclaimers warning of risks. SDCERA argued that such disclaimers didn't excuse the wild gambling that the hedge fund did. White says that none of Amaranth's disclaimers warned that Amaranth would break the law. The fund was sanctioned by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
SDCERA's hedge fund adventure led to one resignation under duress. In March of 2009, David Deutsch, the chief investment officer of SDCERA, resigned because of his bad hedge fund gambles, including Amaranth. At one point the county had 20% of its pot in hedge funds. By the time Deutsch departed, that was down to 14%.