Over the last year we’ve taken a hard look at the CTA Retirement Plan – and we haven’t always liked what we’ve seen.
Some board members appear to have little or no background in running a nearly $2 billion taxpayer-backed pension fund for retired transit workers and their dependents.
But, we found pension officials do have experience in taking taxpayer-funded junkets to plush destinations for conferences.
We also learned the pension fund’s now-former investment advisor was being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for questionable conduct related to other clients.
Then there was the pension board member soliciting donations from that investment advisor, and others tied to the pension fund, for a charity fund overseen by the board member’s union.
Perhaps most of all, though, we learned transparency at the pension fund has been atrocious.
It’s a government agency subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA – meaning it is supposed to turn over records to the public or press upon request.
The pension fund wasn’t so good at following that law, though, so we sued them and ended up getting records we sought – and assurances that things would be better in the future.
Click here to read the lawsuit press release.
As a follow-up to the lawsuit, we asked the pension fund (under FOIA) for copies of other lawsuits filed by or against the agency in recent times. We wanted to gauge the pension fund’s litigation history.
The agency turned over four suits aside from the Better Government Association complaint. Three deal with health care benefits and finances – including one lawsuit in which the pension fund sued its sister agency, the Chicago Transit Authority. The fourth involved a bankruptcy.
We figured we’d post them all with this blog because they deserve to see the light of day.
This is an agency that, until we started asking questions, didn’t draw much public attention. With so much money and so many retirements at stake, we’re glad that’s changing.
This blog post was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Robert Herguth, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 821-9030.
PREVIOUS BGA STORIES ABOUT CHICAGO-AREA PENSION FUNDS
Aug. 24, 2014
May 21, 2014
April 28, 2014
Jan. 24, 2014
Jan. 19, 2014
Jan. 13, 2014
Dec. 23, 2013
Dec. 8, 2013
Nov. 25, 2013
Nov. 18, 2013
Nov. 11, 2013