Bloomberg Clears Rattner

Steve Rattner may eventually face civil and/or criminal charges in connection with an alleged kickback scheme involving his investment firm, Quadrangle Group. Many suspect it's just a matter of time before the scandal forces President Obama to oust him as his point man on the auto industry bailout. There's speculation he'll face repercussions from Quadrangle investors as a result of the saga. And even if he manages to avoid any serious legal consequences, there's no question his rep has taken a big blow. But he has one person on his side: Michael Bloomberg!

After telling reporters today that Rattner is "scrupulously honest and a great public servant," the mayor promptly cleared him of any wrongdoing: "From what I can tell and what the authorities have said... he and his company did nothing wrong," said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, of course, has a fantastic reason to defend the guy: A big piece of vast fortune is tied up with the Quadrangle Group. Perhaps he realized that he ought to point out that he isn't exactly the most unbiased observer. "I really shouldn't weigh in, he is a friend of mine," he said a few minutes later, after doing just that. "As you know his company manages some money for me."

In the meantime, he can always use his influence at his former company to try putting a positive spin on things. While most media outlets were reporting on the messier aspects of the Rattner mess, the headline on Bloomberg was decidedly cheerier: "Quadrangle Fund Produces Above-Average Returns Amid U.S. Probe."

Rattner's Friend In High Places [NYDN]
Steven Rattner's next headache [Fortune]