Taking Dinner

— Employees of the county's troubled retirement system have been wined and dined by some of the very same people who have contracts to manage the system's investments, according to personal financial disclosure forms on file with the county clerk. For instance, last year the retirement system's chief investment officer David Deutsch was treated to lunches and dinners worth a total of $602 by a long line of investment advisors, including Rocaton Investment Advisors. An East Coast consultant, Rocaton first pitched the county's retirement system on investing in Amaranth Advisors, the hedge fund that has fallen apart, costing the system more than $100 million at last count. According to his financial disclosure for 2005, Deutsch had lunch at the posh Rainwater's grill -- known for its high-rolling clientele and costly tabs -- with Rocaton's Chris Cesare on April 20 and again on June 16. Each time, he reported the value of the meal as just $20. On December 15 he lunched again with Cesare, this time at the Karl Strauss brewpub; the price was again $20. Other companies that paid for Deutsch's meals, most reported in the $25 to $35 range, included Denali Advisors, Westridge Management, Bank of New York, JPMorgan, Pension Consulting Alliance, PIMCO, Mondrian, Western Asset Management, Morgan Stanley, and Abel/Noser. The biggest tab, $75, was run up at La Jolla's Marine Room on March 7 and paid for by Pareto Partners. D.E. Shaw gave him a $100 iPod

Deutsch's assistant, Lisa Needle, also got in on the gravy train. On March 7, Pareto paid for a $75 dinner. Kenmar gave her two dinners worth a total of $85 and "car service" worth $100. On September 23, she collected "baby gifts" from a number of the advisors, including Baillie Gifford ($50), Russell Securities ($25), Cliffwater ($150), Duncan-Hurst Capital Management ($50), Kenmar ($100), Mount Lucas Management ($100), and UBS ($150).

The retirement fund's investment officer, Brian Johnson, wasn't left out: from Rocaton he got a $25 dinner on March 17, a $17 lunch on April 20, and an $18 dinner on June 16. Putnam Investments of Boston treated him to a $23 dinner on May 24, $12 in cocktails on June 15, and a $40 dinner on October 11. Kenmar Investment Management of Rye Brook, New York, paid $50 each for dinners on August 17 and December 8. Unlike Deutsch, White did not reveal the whereabouts of the meals. On June 14 and June 15, Bridgewater Associates of Westport, Connecticut, shelled out $340 for White's "hotel and meal costs at their annual client conference."

On June 5, investment officer John Colafrancesco reported getting baseball tickets worth $90 from BlackRock, a San Francisco money manager. A month earlier, Pacific Coast Capital Partners of El Segundo gave him lunch and a gift bag worth $50. In December they sent him a $25 bottle of wine. The same month Colafrancesco got a $155 gift basket from Cornerstone Realty Advisors of Hartford, Connecticut.

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