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RELEASE: When was Mike McFadden’s firm telling the truth? Minnesotans deserve to know

When was Mike McFadden’s firm telling the truth? Minnesotans deserve to know
Investment banker and his company have failed to explain why his firm took credit for Smurfit-Stone deal until last week

ST. PAUL [10/28/14] — Today, the Franken campaign is pressing investment banker Mike McFadden to explain to Minnesotans why his company, Lazard Middle Market, took credit on their website for the Smurfit-Stone restructuring deal for 18 months, until an ad about the deal began running last week. The Franken campaign is calling on McFadden to address several key unanswered questions about who decided to advertise the deal, which resulted in more than 400 workers losing their jobs, on the website and who took it down. The full list of questions is below.

“The undisputed fact is that Mike McFadden’s company took credit for the deal until our ad criticized him for it,” said Alexandra Fetissoff, Franken campaign spokesperson.  “The press wrote about the deal 18 months ago. McFadden didn’t correct the stories. And his company didn’t take it off their website. Minnesotans deserve to know: were they telling the truth then or are they telling the truth now?”

Press reports in POLITICO and Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal have linked Lazard Middle Market to the restructuring of Smurfit-Stone for more than a year and a half – one report even ran before McFadden left his post as Co-CEO and entered the race. During that entire period, Lazard Middle Market listed the Smurfit-Stone restructuring deal as a transaction on their company’s website. But it wasn’t until the Franken campaign began airing its ad highlighting the deal last week that either McFadden or his company made any public effort to refute that claim and the deal was suddenly removed from the website.

McFadden could not explain at Sunday’s WCCO-TV debate why his company suddenly scrubbed all mentions of its work on the Smurfit-Stone restructuring deal following the release of the Franken campaign’s new ad, and neither he nor his company has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why they removed all mentions of Smurfit-Stone from the website and why those mentions were there in the first place.

McFadden and his company owe Minnesotans answers to the following questions:


  1. Who at Lazard Middle Market was involved in designing and placing the entry on Lazard Middle Market’s website claiming that it advised on the Smurfit-Stone restructuring?
  2. At the time the entry was posted on Lazard Middle Market’s website, was it accurate?
  3. If it was not, why did neither Lazard Middle Market nor Mike McFadden seek a correction from Politico or the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal?
  4. Were there any internal conversations at Lazard Middle Market in May 2013, when this deal first appeared in print, about whether or not the company worked on the deal and whether or not the website needed to be corrected? If so, when will Lazard Middle Market release the records of those conversations?
  5. What and who began the discussion to remove the mention of Smurfit-Stone from Lazard Middle Market’s website last week? Who at Lazard Middle Market was involved in approving and implementing that decision?
  6. Will Lazard release a list of all personnel at any Lazard entity who worked on the deal, whether they billed hours or not?
  7. Will Lazard release emails and other internal correspondence at any Lazard entity related to the deal?
  8. Will Lazard release emails and other correspondence between Mike McFadden or his campaign and any Lazard entity pertaining to Smurfit-Stone?


Timeline of Key Events

April 10, 2013: McFadden’s name first surfaces as a potential opponent to Sen. Franken. That day, the Franken campaign captures the Lazard Middle Market website. That day, the Lazard Middle Market website still includes an advertisement for work on Smurfit-Stone’s restructuring.

May 3, 2013: Politico reports that McFadden is gearing up for a run, and speculates that McFadden’s business record at Lazard Middle Market could be a liability for him. The article specifically cites, among others, the restructuring of Smurfit-Stone.

May 13, 2013: Mike McFadden takes his leave of absence from Lazard Middle Market (Per his Personal Financial Disclosure).

May 29, 2013: Mike McFadden announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. With the Minnesota press corps assembled, he makes no effort to distance himself or Lazard Middle Market from the Smurfit-Stone deal.

May 31, 2013: The Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports on McFadden’s candidacy and repeats Politico’s reporting on the Smurfit-Stone deal. As in the case of Politico, neither McFadden nor his campaign nor Lazard Middle Market made any discernable effort to distance themselves from the deal.

October 23, 2014: The Franken campaign’s ad highlighting the Smurfit-Stone restructuring begins running.

October 24, 2014: McFadden for the first time in the campaign publicly denies his company had any involvement in the Smurfit-Stone restructuring and at the same time Lazard Middle Market removes all mention of the Smurfit-Stone restructuring from its website.