Saturday, February 7, 2009

Steven Rattner's Car Czar Throne Denied By Wife's DWI?

As Detroit's automakers burn in the 7th circle of debtor hell, people have been wondering - where is Steve Rattner? A very interesting story has emerged that may explain not only his lateness in climbing to his appointed throne, but why he may never sit in it in the first place. As we noted, Steve's wife is Maureen White, a high profile democrat, who until 2006 was the finance chairwoman and top fund-raiser of the Democratic National Convention. More relevantly, however, on October 24, 2008, she was found drunk and catatonic behind the wheel of her Mercedes 350 as she was going thru an EZPass gate at the Throgs Neck Bridge. A detailed description of the night's events can be found in the Criminal Division of the Bronx Supreme Court:

Deponent states, that at the above time and places, deponent observed defendant seated behind the steering wheel of a 2006 Black Mercedes Benz 350, New York License Plate #CSL1498, with the keys in the ignition and the engine running. Deponent further states that said Black Mercedes Benz was stopped at the raised EZPass gate, failing to proceed through, with a line of vehicles honking behind said Black Mercedes Benz. Deponent further states that he approached the vehicle to inquire whether the defendant needed assistance at which time defendant stared blankly at deponent with glassy eyes and stated in sum and substance: WHERE DO I GO NOW? Deponent further states that he observed defendant to be disoriented and confused, and she was unable to follow directions.

Deponent further states that he observed defendant to be unsteady on her feet and to have a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from her breath.

Deponent further states that he was present at the administration of a chemical test analysis of defendant's breath and defendant refused to take said test.

At least she has read DWI 101 which says to never agree to a breathalyzer at the scene of the crime. Subsequently, however, according to eCourts (docket # 64366C-2008) she relented, and on December 22 plead guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge for which she had her license suspended for 90 days.

It does not end there. Michael Wolff presents an interesting case of an impressive conspiracy cover up. As Steve Rattner used to work at the New York Times and has been an advisor to Arthur Sulzberger on financial issues, and is also a friend of Rupert Murdoch's, the story never made either the New York Times, nor Murdoch's New York Post. Curiously, the story had been picked up by the Daily News, but subsequently was taken down, for reasons unknown.

Whether or not the potential car czar would want the story hidden is an open question. What is, however, pretty sure is that in its first three weeks, the Obama administration has seen more than its fair share of scandals, and an alcohol related bust for the wife of such a high profile posting would definitely not go well as a follow-up act to all the recent tax blow ups. We wait to see how this whole situation develops but would not be surprised if the next most likely candidate for the throne itself is Centerbridge's Steve Girsky, of Dana and Penn Gaming fame.
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