County officials lobby for relief from Lehman losses; House to hold hearingThe county's quest to get federal bailout money to cover losses from the collapse of Lehman Bros. appears to be getting some traction, with a congressional hearing set for April, according to Mary McMillan, the deputy county manager.
County officials met recently with representatives Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier and Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, to discuss the use of Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds topurchase bad assets held by the county.
On Friday, Ms. McMillan announced that Rep. Frank agreed to hold a hearing after the spring congressional break is over in mid-April.
The San Mateo County treasury lost $150 million in investments when Lehman Bros. went bankrupt last fall. Among the members of the county investment pool that were affected are the Menlo Park City and Sequoia Union High school districts and the town of Atherton.
Local officials hope the upcoming hearing will shake loose some of the TARP funds to help cover its losses.
"Lehman Brothers was the only large financial institution allowed to fail and its failure cost state and local governments (nationally) more than $2 billion," said Rep. Speier, in a press release.
Rep. Eshoo said she is hopeful that San Mateo County and other public entities will be able to recover some of the dollars lost. "Our schools, public safety, and social services will suffer if we cannot return a portion of these dollars back to our local governments," she said.
Representatives from San Mateo County in the meeting with Rep. Frank included Supervisor Rich Gordon, Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, and Ms. McMillan.
San Mateo County officials also met with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, and the House and Senate Finance Committees.