No Leeway

The controversial chairman James Lee of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas resigns.


The controversial chairman of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas resigned on January 9 following media reports that he had recently settled a $110,000 gambling debt dating back to 2005 with Las Vegas’s Bellagio casino. James Lee, who said he was stepping down to pursue a new business venture, settled the debt after a judge ruled he was in default, according to media reports. Texas Governor Rick Perry had named Lee chairman of the $80.7 billion fund in February 2008. Lee, a major Republican campaign contributor who made a fortune as founder of broker-dealer Momentum Securities during the 1990s day-trading boom, riled board members and politicians last year with his efforts to oust the fund’s outside legal counsel, who advised on such fiduciary matters as ethics and disclosure. He also spearheaded plans to hire a former Perry aide as deputy director of the fund. Lee was replaced by Linus Wright, 81, the former vice chairman of the board.