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Cezary Podkul

Cezary Podkul

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Cezary is a reporter at ProPublica covering finance. Previously, he worked as a reporter at Reuters specializing in data-driven news stories. His work with Carrick Mollenkamp for Reuters’s “Uneasy Money” series was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. He has covered energy and commodities and the private equity industry, among other beats, after leaving investment banking in 2008 to pursue journalism.

Cezary earned a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a 2011 alumnus of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, where he won the Melvin Mencher Prize for Superior Reporting. He is fluent in Polish.

Articles

Top Tobacco Bond Banker Departs Barclays

Kym Arnone handled more than $40 billion in deals in which states and other governments borrowed against income from the landmark tobacco legal settlement of 1998.

Chris Christie’s Tunnel Tango

What happened to the money after the New Jersey governor killed a new commuter rail tunnel five years ago?

When Wall Street Offers Free Money, Watch Out

Bankers and new accounting rules are emboldening governments to borrow-and-bet their way out of pension problems, a strategy that’s backfired in the past.

Bet Big, Then Go Short

Governments that borrow money to fund their pensions often pay less into their pension funds in future years than they're supposed to. Here’s how the 20 biggest pension bonds deals since 1996 have worked out.

What Chris Christie Didn’t Say at His Campaign Kickoff

The New Jersey governor pledges to “tell it like it is,” but his fiscal record and rhetoric don’t line up.

How Illinois’ Pension Debt Blew Up Chicago’s Credit

After a court ruling, the state’s legacy of borrowing to cover public employee pensions landed a $2.2 billion problem in the city’s lap.

Another Big Tobacco Bond Deal, Cajun Style

Facing a giant budget deficit, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to borrow $750 million against future income from a landmark legal settlement with cigarette makers.

Parsing Chris Christie’s Pension Math

The New Jersey governor counts past pension borrowing as “school aid” in his budget – but not when it undercuts his claim of spending more on pensions than prior governors.

Behind Christie’s Budget Claims, a More Controversial Legacy

N.J. governor closed budget gaps by borrowing, shifting money from trust funds and paring back tax credits

Chris Christie’s Budget ‘Sins’

In pledging to fix New Jersey’s ailing finances, Gov. Chris Christie promised to avoid one-time budget fixes he called “sins of the past.” A review by ProPublica and The Washington Post shows he’s committed some of the same sins – and some new ones.

Years After Tobacco Deals Sold, SEC Says Rating Agencies Still Conflicted

The latest Securities and Exchange Commission examination of credit rating firms found problems similar to those documented in ProPublica's investigation of tobacco bonds.

Behind New Jersey’s Tobacco Bond Bailout, A Hedge Fund’s $100 Million Payday

When New Jersey decided to bail out some of its tobacco bonds, the state gave up $400 million in future revenues to pocket $92 million immediately, an arrangement that also helped one savvy investor cash in on a big bet.

What Investment Bankers Say About Rating Agencies Behind Their Backs

Bankers Brought Rating Agencies ‘To Their Knees’ On Tobacco Bonds

Wall Street pressed S&P, Moody’s and Fitch to assign more favorable credit ratings to their deals and bragged that the raters complied. Now many of the bonds are headed for default.

Scoring the Latest Tobacco Bond Bailout: Investors $10, Taxpayers $1

Chautauqua County, N.Y. helped a bondholder get nearly $6 million for bottom-of-the-barrel debt – the bondholder let the county keep $600,000.

Tobacco Settlement Funds Sprinklers, Golf Carts and a Grease Trap

In Niagara County, N.Y., leaders took on 40-year debt to pay for short-term stuff, a case study in the perverse incentives tobacco bonds create.

The Millions New York Counties Coulda Got

New York counties were promised annual payments from tobacco companies as part of a national settlement to reimburse them for smoking-related health care costs. Some made deals to get up front cash instead of long term payments. Here's what they gave up.

How One New York County Fell Into the Tobacco Debt Trap

A refinance of Niagara County’s tobacco bonds was good news — but for investors, not taxpayers.

How We Analyzed New York County Tobacco Bonds

Users can see how interest rates and declining cigarette sales affect the bottom line for counties that borrowed against income from the landmark tobacco settlement.

Investors Haul In Nearly Half the Tobacco Settlement Cash

Cezary Podkul

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