Cezary Podkul

Reporter

Photo of Cezary Podkul

Cezary Podkul is a reporter for ProPublica who writes about finance. Previously, he worked as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal and Reuters where he specialized in data-driven news stories. His work with Carrick Mollenkamp for Reuters’ 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 in 2006 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.

Q&A: The Hidden Costs of Tobacco Debt

Even when taxpayers aren't explicitly on the hook, tobacco bonds can cost states and local governments money. Here's how.

Tobacco Bonds May Be Dangerous to Your State's Financial Health

After a bruising legal fight, tobacco companies agreed in 1998 to compensate 46 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories for the health-related costs of smoking. Wall Street helped turn their annual payments into upfront cash by selling bonds to investors. Some of the deals included a form of high-risk debt, capital appreciation bonds, which obligated governments to pay out billions of their tobacco income in the future.

How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States With Billions in Toxic Debt

Politicians wanted upfront cash from a legal victory over Big Tobacco, and bankers happily obliged. The price? A handful of states promised to repay $64 billion on just $3 billion advanced.

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