Legislators scrutinized the governor’s pick for commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development and senior economic advisor this week, highlighting his time as at the firm Goldman Sachs and the company’s role during the 2008 financial crisis.
David Lehman addressed these concerns to state lawmakers in the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee, which eventually approved his nomination.
“I have always prided myself on being honest, transparent, and forthright with clients and colleagues and I hope you’ll find those qualities in me as well,” Lehman said. “Any suggestion that I knew a product was going to be worthless and subsequently sold it to a client is completely and wholly untrue.”
Lehman acknowledged during the hearing that at one point during his time at Goldman Sachs – in the summer of 2007 – he oversaw something called “Collateralized Debt Obligations.” These are a pool of assets that can be sold off to investors.
Marc Morrash showed up to the public hearing to urge legislators to reject Lehman’s nomination. The Brookfield resident accused Lehman of being dishonest with investors.
“When we’re sitting there in this hearing today and he’s talking about transparency and hindsight, I believe in my heart of hearts he truly knew what he was doing -- knew that he was selling mortgages that were going to fail and to protect his company, brought down others and I cannot get past that,” Morrash said.
In the end, the committee voted unanimously to support Lehman’s nomination, which now goes to the full Senate.