Feds probe union pension scam
Federal law enforcement officials have issued subpoenas and opened a criminal investigation to determine how union officials were able to work one day as a substitute teacher yet be eligible for $100,000 pension plan -- for life. From the Chicago Tribune: Federal authorities have begun a criminal investigation into how nearly a dozen union officials became eligible for inflated city pensions, according to subpoenas obtained by the Tribune and WGN-TV through an open-records request. The Chicago municipal employees and laborers pension funds each received subpoenas from a federal grand jury in October seeking "records pursuant to an official criminal investigation." The request seeks documentation on 11 labor leaders who appeared in reports from a joint Tribune/WGN-TV investigation. The reports focused on a 1991 law that allowed union leaders who once worked for the city to receive credit in public pension plans for their private union work. When they retire, the union officials' pensions aren't based on their old city paychecks but on their much higher union salaries. That opened the door for them to land public pensions that far exceeded their pay as city employees — even as they continued to earn lucrative salaries from their unions. At least eight union officials named in the subpoena who either receive city pensions or are eligible for them also earned credit in union pension funds for the same period of work, despite a state law that was supposed to prevent that. The joint investigation found that some of those labor leaders were participating in up to three pension funds at the same time, accruing retirement benefits that reached as high $500,000 a year.