Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Simpson On The CIRM Private Placement Plan

Consumer Watchdog's John M. Simpson, who sat in on the board meetings last week of the California stem cell agency, today offered his take on CIRM's financial troubles.

Simpson, stem cell project director for the Santa Monica, Ca., organization, noted that the discussions touched on the sale of the bond anticipation notes two years ago, when CIRM also faced fiscal difficulties. Those sales raised $44 million.

Simpson wrote,
"However, former ICOC Vice Chairman Ed Penhoet , who played a key role in selling many of the BANS, notes that most of the purchasers acted for philanthropic reasons and were prepared to lose the money if the courts ruled against CIRM.

"Those BANs were sold when the economy was booming, riding high on the housing bubble.  Today those sorts of investors are feeling the pinch like all the rest of us -- perhaps in some cases even more so.  It is by no means clear that a significant amount can be raised for CIRM by selling bonds privately."
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