Petersen Up for Spot on State Investment Board

1/5/12 – A nominee for the State Investment Board admits mistakes in a previous term on the panel — and he vows not to repeat them. Madison real estate developer John Petersen-the-Third told the Senate Financial Institutions Committee yesterday he’s the most experienced person available to serve on the Investment Board. It manages billions in retirement funds for state, local government, and school employees. Petersen was on the board in 2000 when he voted to invest 80-million-dollars in a business connected to a firm in which he owned stock. Auditors said there appeared to be a conflict of interest, but the former state Ethics Board said Petersen did nothing wrong. Yesterday, he said he should have abstained from the matter. But he didn’t consider it the time, because it was not a direct investment to the company in which he owned the stock. Jane Elmer of the Wisconsin Retired Educators Association said her group does not believe Petersen is eligible to serve, because of his ties to real estate investments. Petersen later said he believed he’s eligible — and the governor’s office agreed. Panel chairman Glenn Grothman said afterward that he would vote to confirm Petersen. He was one of three people appointed to the Investment Board last month by Governor Scott Walker.