March 28, 2014

Chris Witkowsky with PEHub is right when he mentions in his latest article that the entire issue with blogger Susan Webber regarding her request of CalPERS Private Equity data could have been resolved without bringing in the lawyers. CalPERS was in the process of gathering the data she wanted, and working in good faith, when she hired her own lawyer and filed suit against CalPERS, escalating the situation.

To leave no further questions, the data she requested - an exact copy of the data CalPERS provided to Oxford University academics several years ago - is posted below. She originally received this document on March 11, and in other formats during the past several months, yet she continues to belabor the issue in writing and with additional Public Records Requests for CalPERS data.

While we are on the topic, there are several things that are interesting about Webber's initial request and her subsequent blogging.

First, Webber claims there were errors in the CalPERS data she received, given the inclusion of several real estate funds in the list. Yet looking at the data Oxford received, the same real estate funds were included. They are also included in the current list of Private Equity funds on our public website.

Webber also mentions that she believes the data should include the "actual dates and amounts of CalPERS contributions to funds and the funds' distributions to CalPERS." We're not sure where she gets this notion but, again, in looking at the file sent to Oxford, only general quarterly information for each fund is listed. It should be noted here, also, that this information is currently available on our public website and updated quarterly, as it has been since 2002.

Next, and perhaps most suspect, is that in none of her blogging since the time of the initial request has she made much actual use of the data. Instead, she's used the situation as a reason to obsess over CalPERS in her sensational, erroneous and conspiratorial-themed blog postings about us.

This leaves one to speculate that perhaps the true intent of her infatuation with CalPERS was to seek a means to gain exposure for herself, her financial advisory services firm, or her blog (where paid advertising and her own book for sale are prominently displayed).

All of that aside, CalPERS has been closely working with Webber's legal representative throughout this process and will continue to do so. Furthermore, as always, we stand ready to release any information which can be disclosed under the California Public Records Act.

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