Activist groups are asking state Controller Thomas DiNapoli to halt investments in two private equity firms they blame for worsening the foreclosure crisis in Puerto Rico.
In a letter to DiNapoli, the anti-hedge fund group Hedge Clippers and other organizations say the state Common Retirement Fund should make no new investments in the Blackstone Group and TPG Capital.
“We write to direct your urgent attention to the destructive role of these companies in the current crisis in Puerto Rico, in which massive hurricane damage and economic loss is being exploited by private equity funds seeking huge profits from human suffering,” says the letter, which was also signed by groups including New York Communities for Change and the Center for Popular Democracy.
“We ask that your office halt further investment with these firms until they provide a path for families to stay in their homes.”
The New York Common Retirement Fund has invested $ 3.3 billion with Blackstone and $ 1.15 billion with TPG since 2012, according to the advocates.
It’s unclear whether there are future investments pending with either firm.
Protesters rally against foreclosures on Puerto Rican families affected by Hurricane Maria, outside the offices of TPG Capital on Dec. 20, 2017 in New York City.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Blackstone referred to a letter from a subsidiary company, Finance in America, responding to concerns about its activities in Puerto Rico.
Company officials said they are required to follow federal rules, which give them little discretion on whether to start foreclosure proceedings, but would support the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development extending a moratorium on foreclosures of reverse mortgages on the island.
TPG Sixth Street Partners said it has directed the company in Puerto Rico that services its mortgages to extend a foreclosure moratorium until March.
“When the hurricane made landfall, the investor group TSSP is a part of directed the servicer of the loans to immediately halt foreclosures and to grant all forbearance requests,” said spokesman Patrick Clifford. “We look forward to further dialogue with everyone involved here, including advocacy groups, and we are committed to continuing to act with care and understanding during this difficult time.”
DiNapoli’s office did not respond to a request for comment.