New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D)
Gannett Albany Bureau
ALBANY - State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Wednesday that New York's $132.6 billion pension fund plans to sue BP over the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in April that continues to gush oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's my duty to protect the interests of the (Common Retirement) Fund and the retirees and employees who rely on it," DiNapoli said in a statement. "BP misled investors about its safety procedures and its ability to respond to events like the ongoing oil spill and we're going to hold it accountable."
The comptroller said he hired the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which has offices in New York City, to represent the pension fund in a class action against BP.
DiNapoli said he is seeking lead-plaintiff status so the fund and other investors have the best chance at recovering damages that resulted from the drop in shareholder value after the incident two months ago, he said. The fund held more than 19 million shares in BP at the time, he said.
Most of the pension fund's stock is in BP international, said Robert Whalen, a DiNapoli spokesman. Sharese shares closed at 655 British pounds on April 20, about $975.60, and were 333.50 pounds, about $496.60, at mid-day today.
A spokesman for BP America in Houston said the company doesn't comment on litigation or potential litigation.
The Common Retirement Fund provides benefits to more than one million active and retired state and local government employees, police officers and firefighters. State and local government employers and employees contribute to the pension fund.