Representatives of the state and hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio’s philanthropic arm will meet Friday to formally dissolve their partnership to bolster Connecticut’s low-performing schools.
The Partnership for Connecticut sent a notice Wednesday to its Board of Directors scheduling a 5 p.m. meeting Friday via teleconference “for the purpose of considering a proposal to dissolve and liquidate the partnership.”
Dalio and his wife, Barbara, withdrew from the partnership last month citing frustrations with partisan politics, news leaks and “sensationalistic stories.”
Ray Dalio controls Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. The state committed $22 million in bonding and $30 million in tax incentives to Bridgewater in 2016 to help the firm expand facilities in Westport, Wilton and Norwalk, retain 1,400 jobs and create 750 new ones.
The Dalios, who originally pledged to invest $100 million in Connecticut’s schools over five years provided the state match that contribution — have said they will provide the funds regardless of the partnership’s dissolution.
The partnership’s tenure has been marked by controversy since the legislature and Lamont approved the state’s participation one year ago. At the Dalio’s insistence, the partnership was exempted from state disclosure and ethics rules.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced the impending separation on May 19, following news reports that Barbara Dalio, during a May 4 phone call, had asked the partnership’s CEO, Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey of Greenwich, to resign after just six weeks on the job.
Elected state officials serving on the partnership board said they weren’t even made aware of the conflict between Barbara Dalio and Schmitt-Carey until four days after the CEO had been asked to step down.
A former CEO of Say Yes to Education, another nonprofit focused on improving inner city education, Schmitt-Carey has been on paid administrative leave since May 7.
Schmitt-Carey has not commented directly on the matter. But in a May 12 email she sent to partnership board members, Schmitt-Carey accused Barbara Dalio and one of her aides, Andrew Ferguson, of ambushing her during that phone call with “false and defamatory allegations.”
Schmitt-Carey’s contract includes a “non-disparagement” clause that stipulates she “will not at any time make, publish, or communicate to any person or entity or in any public forum any defamatory or disparaging remarks, comments, or statements concerning the Partnership, or any of its employees, officers, and associated third parties.”
The contract also allows for up to six months’ severance pay — half of her $247,500 annual salary — if Schmitt-Carey is terminated.
Legislative leaders and the governor said they are uncertain whether it also will take a vote of the General Assembly for Connecticut to exit the partnership, and that the matter is being researched.
According to the Lamont administration, between $14 million and $15 million of Connecticut’s $20 million contribution to the partnership for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, remains unspent and will be returned to the state when the partnership is dissolved.