Sacramento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson — who is running for the Legislature — is taking a page from the Democratic playbook on how to tap into populist anger and win quick political points with voters: He's attacking Wall Street.
Dickinson held a news conference Wednesday to call on Sacramento County and the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District to sue several major Wall Street banks over auction rate security deals in 2004 and 2006.
Dickinson could not provide any figures showing how much such deals cost taxpayers. He said he guessed it might be millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, his tough talk four weeks before the June 8 primary could negatively impact the long-term financial health of Sacramento County, officials said.
The saber-rattling comes even as the county is going hat in hand to Wall Street, asking for a bank to back $134 million in variable rate bonds. Some county officials are worried that Dickinson's threats could affect their ability to secure such backing.
An earlier deal fell through in February when the ratings agencies lowered Sacramento County's credit ratings and interested banks backed out – suddenly scared at the county's financial situation.
If officials can't replace the expiring letter of credit on the $134 million in bonds, the county could face a doomsday scenario and need to come up with nearly $300 million in the next two years.
A county official's threats of a lawsuit could impact the letter-of-credit negotiations, said Chris Marx, Sacramento County debt officer.
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