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Saturday, May 16, 2009


Alleged Theft Within Cincinnati’s Pension Fund

Posted by Media Release

Photo courtesy of here.

The Cincinnati NAACP has been informed that two City employees have been put on administrative leave and one supervisor has tendered a resignation over alleged theft of Pension Fund monies.  If these allegations are true, the City of Cincinnati has added insult to injury to City employees who have given 30 years of service with the understanding that their pensions are safe.  Christopher Smitherman, president of the Cincinnati NAACP, says, “If this information is true, all persons involved with oversight of the Pension Fund should tender their resignations immediately.  I have been concerned and outspoken about the losses within the Pension Fund since my term as a City Councilmember.”  Smitherman served as Cincinnati City Councilmember during the 2004-2005 term.

The City essentially stole $20 million of pension money when they received stock in Anthem and did not contribute the asset to the Pension Fund.  The City continues to underfund their obligation to its retirement system.  Smitherman thanked independent media, Media Bridges and The Cincinnati Beacon, for covering the Pension Fund story since 2004.  The problems with the Pension Fund are not solely driven by health care as commonly stated by City officials, but the problems are also related to mismanagement of the asset and lack of basic oversight. 

The City officials continue to lie about the magnitude of the problem and the solutions.  Retirees are encouraged to send public information requests to the City of Cincinnati to learn whether there are any pending allegations of theft of Pension Fund assets and whether such allegations are being investigated by the Cincinnati Police Department.  Retirees should also ask how many Pension Fund Board meetings the Mayor and the representative from City Council have attended.  “If the allegations prove true and if we find out that our representatives have not been attending meetings, the Mayor of the City of Cincinnati and all nine members of City Council owe taxpayers and retirees a full explanation,” said Smitherman.


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  1. Justice says:

    As I recall when the pension topic was first mentioned, people scoffed at Councilman Smitherman’s concerns. The Fund remains underfunded, that is a fact. That also is a huge problem. Is resignation and/or being placed on administrative leave too good of a punishment for pilfering tens of millions of dollars worth of retiree money? No current Councilmember who was seated when this scandal first was brought up in 2004 deserves to be re-elected due to gross neglect of duty. If the city leadership did not do what it should have done since this was first mentioned, and it seems that they didn’t, isn’t that cause for criminal charges?

  2. Urbanists II is Dead says:

    “The City officials continue to lie about the magnitude of the problem and the solutions.  Retirees are encouraged to send public information requests to the City of Cincinnati to learn whether there are any pending allegations of theft of Pension Fund assets and whether such allegations are being investigated by the Cincinnati Police Department.  Retirees should also ask how many Pension Fund Board meetings the Mayor and the representative from City Council have attended.  “If the allegations prove true and if we find out that our representatives have not been attending meetings, the Mayor of the City of Cincinnati and all nine members of City Council owe taxpayers and retirees a full explanation,” said Smitherman.”

    1.  Smitherman can send FOIAs.
    2.  How many meetings/what percentage of meetings did Smitherman attend as a Council member?
    3.  What legislative/budgetary action did Smitherman take as a Council member to fully fund the Pension Fund?  Since Charlie Winburn is riding this same horse, what was his attendance record/legislative record in this regard?
    4.  “The City” is a singular noun.

  3. Wolfie says:

    “If the allegations prove true”

    Is the key phrase in that “Media Release”.

    There have been no facts presented and no one knows who they are.  If it is indeed true the INDIVIDUALS responsible and involved should be prosecuted to the full extent og the law.  BUT using the blanket tactic of “the city” is nothing more than the usual rhetoric from histironic Smitherman.  But of course you have his flunkies here that will make it “the city’s” fault instead of the “indivduals” who did it to make the whole democratic admin of the city look bad to reach their personal agendas and goals.

    http://www.back2stonewall.com/?p=1686#comments

  4. Bearman says:

    “If this information is true, all persons involved with oversight of the Pension Fund should tender their resignations immediately”

    Why?  They did their jobs.  You can’t stop people from stealing.  Even if you put up precautions and barriers, people still find a way to embezzle money from the company they work for.  Obviously oversight worked in that it seems, if true, they were caught.

  5. Jones says:

    Retirees should also ask how many Pension Fund Board meetings the Mayor and the representative from City Council have attended.

    The Retirees already know. The Retirement Board has seats occupied by retirees.

    And as I recall, when Smitherman squatted on Council, he never showed up at a Retirement Board meeting with his so-called concerns. Honestly, when there were a few quasi-public meetings, Smitherman never showed up to prove his “sky is falling” rhetoric, with proof of established actuarial tables, standard formulas, or his cooked up fuzzy math.

    To my knowledge, Smitherman’s current hysteria hasn’t been proven nor founded to be 100%+ accurate. I keep very close track of this City Retirement business for personal family reasons.

    If anyone or any entity is at fault for

    stealing

    , it’s the City for shirking their mandated responsibility to fully fund their portion to the retirement fund. However, they can find all sorts of money for freeloading social programs, while being dishonest & disloyal to the people who served this City quite well during their employment tenure.

    As with Smitherman’s formulas, matrices & equations, (which have never come to fruition) I want to see his proof. Frankly, he needs to take 2 Tylenol & go to his room. I think he’s full of sh#t once again. Slow news day for Smitty, but he has to keep that mouth in overdrive.

  6. Show me the money! says:

    Freeloading social programs? Jones sounds like a good ol’ boy westsider. YeeHaw!

    What don’t you understand about the fund needing 3 billion dollars but it only has a little over 1 billion? How closely are you watching what is going on? If Smitherman is wrong, come to the table with your own numbers since you follow it so closely. Of course, you would need to know how many people are in the system, when they are due to retire, etc. I’m sure you’ve done that homework since you are calling Smitherman hysterical, so where’s your proof? Having been part of the City Retirement, I can say that all I was told is how much money was in the fund, I was never given any information about future projections. I got out of the system when I quit my city job but a lot of my friends are still in and I can tell you they are really worried about their retirement.

    Has anyone verified that the CPD is investigating? It seems that fraud on that level would go to the Ohio AG’s office. Anybody with money in the pension system needs to know what is going on with the money. Dont listen to people like Jones, ask questions and find out for yourself.

  7. Urbanists II is Dead says:

    Fraud on what level?  The amount of the theft is not quantified.

  8. Urbanists II is Dead says:

    Page 43 of this:

    http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/noncms/finance/retirement/Minutes/Investment/April2/AttachmentApril2.pdf

    shows that the Cincinnati Retirement System enjoyed very good returns most years shown, the exceptions being 2001/02 in the wake of the dot com market collapse, September 11th and the associated reception, and this most recent recession which is smacking most investments pretty hard.

    This most recent Board minutes:

    http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/noncms/finance/retirement/Minutes/Board/May7/AttachmentsMay7.pdf

    indicates the CRS is funded at 59% of its liability; this:

    http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityfinance/downloads/cityfinance_pdf9842.pdf

    indicates the Board adopted a policy of funding at 80% liablities.

    But for this most recent economic downturn the CRS would be better capitalized, which is not to suggest the City shouldn’t continue to fully fund its obligation up to the 80% value, but Smitherman and his symbiote Winburn are once again long (winded) on rhetoric and short on specifics, or apparently, relevant facts.

    BTW: an oversampling of CRS Board minutes from Smitherman’s tenure on Council find no instance of his attendance, and one instance of him proposing adding funds to the CRS but this was rejected by the Board as it would require, essentially, cleaning out one or two bank accounts and negotiated that transfer with those banks.

    Also, some CRS members sued the City to contribute Anthem monies to the fund but the suit was dismissed for lack of standing and as far I can tell not re-filed.

  9. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    While reading over the Cincinnati Retirement Board minutes for the year 2008,  I noticed that the Cincinnati Retirement Board has spent over $37,009.65 for Lunches, Seminars, Travel & Lodging during the year 2008.

    Since the economic climate of our retirement investments is in bad shape, one would think the Cincinnati Retirement Board would take heed of the economic situation and make an effort to cut back on their expenses in the year 2009.

  10. Urbanists II is Dead says:

    “associated recession” of course.  Urbanists regrets the error.

  11. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    John Boudinot, Pension Fund manager, Retirement Division announced his resignation Monday, effective May 21st….

  12. Annuity Pension Guy says:

    You simply can’t rely on others anymore to take care of your retirement funds.  What a shame.

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