Calif. Commissioner Quackenbush Charged With Holocaust Deal

May 17, 2000

Fresh charges were thrown at California’s legally embattled insurance commissioner Tuesday, when a state representative accused him of entering “possibly illegal” deals with Holocaust-era insurers. In a letter from State Rep. Wall Knox, D-Los Angeles, to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Knox demanded actions ensuring enforcement of the law.

“I recently learned that the DOI [department of insurance] made a secret, possibly illegal agreement with insurance companies to delay enforcement of the law while the companies sue to block it,” Knox said in his letter as reported by Reuters news service. “I believe the DOI has no legal authority to make such an agreement, the effect of which was to nullify indefinitely a valid statute.”

The DOI has responded to the allegations by calling them irresponsible. Quackenbush issued a statement, saying the charges could cause more companies to seek court relief from the DOI’s efforts.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News has joined the Los Angeles Times in demanding Quackenbush’s resignation. The hullabaloo began last month when Quackenbush’s office was accused of making deals with insurance companies after their mishandling of claims from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, ultimately saving the companies billions of dollars in potential fines.

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