MANHATTAN (CN) – Venture capitalists “destroyed the only woman-owned alternative energy hedge fund in America” by bribing public officials to invest the pensions they controlled in exchange for kickbacks, the hedge fund’s creator claims in New York County Court. Barrett Wissman, who co-owns Hunt Financial Ventures with Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, pleaded guilty in April to felony securities fraud in a scheme that funneled billions of dollars out of New York pension funds, according to the complaint.
Wissman invested $20.3 million to help seed Hilary Kramer’s Greentech Research hedge fund, and Kramer says this association hurt her reputation and scared off other prospective investors.
Kramer claims that the SEC accused Wissman of paying $600,000 in kickbacks to land $100 million in investments from the pension fund controlled by former New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
Between 2003 and 2007, the SEC says, $5 billion – more than half of New York’s $9.5 billion in alternative investments – were tainted by kickbacks.
Kramer sued Wissman, Hunt, and Hunt Financial Ventures, claiming they concealed their bribery conspiracy, whose blowback caused poor publicity for Greentech within months of their investment.
Public officials who control other pension plans worried that if they invested, people would assume they were also taking bribes, Kramer says.
Kramer says the defendants denied any wrongdoing when the allegations surfaced and turned her into an unwitting “patsy” who had to liquidate Greentech when her firm was blacklisted by investors.
She claims Hunt Financial Ventures also raised “substantial capital” for a Greentech competitor, which funneled $5 million back to Wissman and the investment firm.
Kramer seeks damages for fraud and negligent misrepresentation. She is represented by Howard Sirota.