New Jersey Paying Fees to a Financial Firm That Employs Christie’s Wife

In October 2011, nearly two years after Mr. Christie, a Republican, took office, state investment officials sent a letter to the company requesting that the state’s capital in the fund, known as A. G. Garden Partners, be returned by the end of the year.

But the state continues to have $6.8 million in what officials called “illiquid” assets in the fund. State officials said they could not identify the assets, but a spokesman for Mr. Christie said that they “could not be sold without a significant loss to New Jersey taxpayers.” In general, assets are illiquid if they could be sold only at a fire-sale price or if legal agreements preclude terminating the investment before a certain date.

The fund has slowly returned the state’s investment. The state had $11.1 million invested in October 2012, and $9.3 million last year.

The state does not disclose its partnership agreements, but the spokesman for the governor said that under the rules of the original agreement, the money from the fund was to be returned as Angelo Gordon sold off investments. That agreement gave the fund “investment discretion” to sell off assets and said that the company was “entitled to receive management fees and performance-based compensation” for assets it was working to sell.

The state paid $1.8 million in management fees to Angelo Gordon in 2007, the first full year it invested in the firm, and as much as $2.5 million in 2011, according to records provided to the International Business Times.

Those fees declined with the size of the investment; New Jersey paid $255,470 in management fees to Angelo Gordon in 2012, $132,347 last year and $82,819 through September of this year.

Mr. Christie’s wife, Mary Pat Christie, formerly a bond trader with Cantor Fitzgerald, began working at Angelo Gordon in September 2012, as a managing director for strategic planning and marketing, focusing on bank debt and distressed funds. A specific breakdown of how much the state paid Angelo Gordon from the time she arrived in 2012 through the end of that year was not available. Mrs. Christie earned $475,854 at Angelo Gordon in 2013, according to the couple’s tax filings.

In 2010, Mr. Christie named a longtime adviser and private equity investor, Robert Grady, as head of the State Investment Council. Mr. Grady steered more of the state’s pension money into hedge funds and other investments, which can have higher returns but also charge higher fees than traditional pension investments.

In September, the state’s largest union, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Grady, accusing him of bringing politics into the pension investments, after reports by the International Business Times and Pando Daily that executives of some of those firms had donated to state and national Republican groups that helped Mr. Christie.

Mr. Grady, who has commuted from Wyoming to serve on the council, stepped down in November, but continues to play a prominent role as a political adviser to Mr. Christie as the governor considers a run for president.

The acting chairman of the investment council, Thomas Byrne, said on Wednesday that he did not know what the illiquid assets were, but that it is standard to pay fees so long as money is invested.

“We’re a limited partner in this investment and we simply don’t have any power to tell the general partner how quickly to liquidate an illiquid investment,” said Mr. Byrne, a Democrat.


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