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Connecticut approves aid package for 2nd hedge fund


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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — For the second time in six months, a Connecticut panel approved giving taxpayer money to a hedge fund in exchange for promises to keep and add jobs in the state.

On Tuesday, the State Bond Commission gave the OK to $28 million in forgivable loans and $7 million in grants for AQR Capital Management LLC in Greenwich, which provides hedge fund and traditional investment services for a range of clients. The funds will help pay for an expansion project.

Under the arrangement, AQR will retain 540 jobs and create up to 600 jobs over 10 years. In return, the loans will be forgiven and the grant will be disbursed in phases as the job company's job obligations are met.

AQR is one of the world's largest hedge funds, with $172.4 billion in hedge fund and traditional assets under management.

In May, the same commission approved a $22 million loan and grant package to help the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, expand its offices in Westport, Wilton and Norwalk.

Democratic State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, a Bond Commission member, voted against both deals, questioning whether the state could afford them given its continuing financial challenges.

"For me, it's not necessarily if this is right deal or the wrong deal," he said, adding how, "we don't get to do it all and we're going to have to make some hard decisions."

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy disagreed, noting how the state is "investing in a company" that already has a large number of jobs in Connecticut and is willing to hire more people "with incomes that are very substantial and will more than pay back the state."

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This story has been corrected to show the number of jobs retained is 540, not 580, and the number of jobs to be created is up to 600.

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