The former president collected at least $12.6 million since 2002 - and possibly as much as $15.3 million - from his work as an adviser for L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle's investment firm, Yucaipa Cos. That's the way the NYT sees is anyway. The Clintons released their taxes late today, but good luck figuring out the former president's specific payouts from Yucaipa. The WSJ's John Emshwiller provided some hints in a front-page story some months ago. Clinton’s links to Yucaipa go back to 2002, when the former president was looking to make some serious money (don't forget all the legal bills that had piled up during his presidency). As part of their arrangement, Burkle agreed to give Clinton a share of the profits from two Yucaipa domestic funds if their returns reached a certain threshold. The arrangement ended in early 2007 without any indication of what Clinton made. More mystery. From the Journal story:
The sales in recent months of Wild Oats Markets Inc. and Pathmark Stores Inc. produced several hundred million dollars in profits for the two Clinton-related Yucaipa domestic funds, which had big shareholdings in the two supermarket chains. Profits from the sales helped to push the funds above the earnings threshold needed to generate a multimillion-dollar payday for the former president, according to public documents related to the sales and other information. The deals were announced in February and March 2007, respectively -- around the time Mr. Clinton's involvement as an adviser to the domestic funds was set to expire. By not closing out his Yucaipa relationship before those sales were completed, President Clinton probably increased the amount of money ultimately due him, say people familiar with such transactions.
Mr. Clinton is also looking to close out partnership interests in a Yucaipa fund that focuses on investing in foreign companies. This fund -- called Yucaipa Global Partnership Fund LP -- has raised several hundred million dollars from a range of investors. Unlike his deal to advise the two Yucaipa domestic funds, Mr. Clinton invested an undisclosed sum of his own money in the global fund and has a limited partnership interest. Mr. Clinton is also one of three owners of the global fund's general partner. The others are Mr. Burkle, who is the managing member, and an entity connected to the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Mr. Clinton's duties and activities as a Yucaipa adviser have never been completely clear to outsiders. He has met at times with people involved in various Yucaipa business deals. And the former president's vast global network of contacts probably has been an asset for Mr. Burkle in dealings with business, labor and political leaders. Over the years, Mr. Burkle has said publicly that Mr. Clinton's prestige and connections have helped Yucaipa get its business proposals in front of top corporate decision makers.