By Dale Kasler
Published: Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 8B

Kurato Shimada, a veteran CalPERS board member whose name surfaced in the investigation into corruption at the pension fund, resigned Tuesday. Shimada left to “focus on personal matters,” CalPERS announced. Shimada declined to comment.

A retired school administrator from San Jose, the 73-year-old Shimada hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing in the pension fund’s bribery scandal. But he has ties to former board member Alfred Villalobos, who is accused in a lawsuit filed by the state of bribing three CalPERS officials to influence investment decisions.

Shimada wasn’t one of the three officials.

Shimada served two separate stints on the board. The first ended in 1999, and a year later he went to work for Villalobos.

The two pitched an investment deal to CalPERS in 2000 on behalf of Los Angeles real estate firm CIM Group. CalPERS eventually invested $400 million with CIM, which paid Villalobos’ firm a $9.6 million fee.

Called to testify in July in Villalobos’ bankruptcy case, Shimada said he earned more than $40,000 on the deal.

Shimada rejoined the CalPERS board in 2002. He served a total of 21 years.

In 2006, CIM invited Shimada and fellow board member Charles Valdes to the Oscars ceremony in order to showcase CIM’s redevelopment work in Hollywood. Both men paid for their expenses, according to CIM officials.

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