NYT: Quadrangle Cofounder Steve Rattner Agrees To SEC Plea In Kickback Case

Steven Rattner may be the former car czar to most people but he played a role in the media investment world long before his brief stint with the Obama administration and the swirl of reports about his possible involvement in a New York kickback case. The New York Times is reporting, based an unidentified source, that Rattner has agreed to a plea in the case that includes a multi-year ban from the securities industry and a $5 million-plus fine.

It doesn’t solve his problems: Rattner still has to contend with NY AG Andrew Cuomo. The NYT says negotiations are underway.

The NYT says the announcement is expected Thursday. Rattner is accused of setting up a movie-financing deal for a brother of NY state pension fund manager David J. Loglisci through a company owned by a Quadrangle PE fund. He left Quadrangle in early 2009 to lead the administration’s auto industry bailout. He celebrated the publication of his book about that experience, Overhaul, with the bold-faced financial crowd in NYC Tuesday night at the Four Seasons — toasted by longtime friend Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to the DealBook account.

Rattner and Quadrangle had high hopes for media investment, holding the high-profile FourSquare conference and investing hundreds of millions on properties like Maxim, Stuff and Blender . But it never quite worked. The main media investment fund closed in late 2008.

Before he was an investment banker, Rattner was a reporter for the NYT. He is close friends with Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and was an NYTCo (NYSE: NYT). advisor. He also sat on the Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) board; an investment in the cable operator was one of those that paid off.

What a strange twist.

Update: An NYT Rattner profile & WSJ‘s coverage.