Feds probe union pension scam

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.

Big Labor Malfeasance and Gov. Ted Strickland

Big Labor Malfeasance and Gov. Ted Strickland

The Columbus Dispatch puts the blame squarely on Gov. Ted Strickland for his cronies funneling no-bid contracts to his union boss buddies at the expense of a school for the blind, home-care worker freedoms, and more: Misfeasance As executive director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, Richard Murray was supposed to act as a good steward of the millions of dollars Ohio pours into new school buildings every day. Instead, a report by the Ohio inspector general shows, he has abused his position to push the interests of unions, including the one to which he belongs, at substantial cost to the state and local school districts. His unprofessional behavior disqualifies him for this position. Murray’s union advocacy comes as no surprise; his career before Gov. Ted Strickland appointed him included more than 12 years as Ohio director of the Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust, a union advocacy group. He is a member of Local 423 of the Laborers' International Union of North America. Strickland’s decision in September 2009 to summarily oust well-regarded former Executive Director Michael Shoemaker, a fellow Democrat, and replace him with Murray shows that the governor, too, is far more interested in doing favors for one of his primary constituencies — labor — than in working for Ohioans’ best interests. In fact, Murray says he was instructed by the Strickland administration to treat construction unions as “constituents” and to improve relations with them.