Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball filed legal papers today to overturn the state pension system’s payment of $50,000 to cover the cost of its ousted chairman’s lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin. Bevin removed the former chairman, Louisville banker Tommy Elliott, from the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees in April — three years before his term expired. Elliott and another trustee sued the governor and KRS in Franklin County Circuit Court in June, seeking to restore Elliott to the board. KRS paid their legal bill of $50,000, saying state law calls for the agency to pay for legal costs “arising from the performance” of trustee duties. Ball, a Republican first-termer like Bevin, disagrees.
A decision by Kentucky Retirement Systems to pay the legal fees of its former chairman as he sues Gov. Matt Bevin is drawing sharp criticism from the governor’s office. KRS, which manages pensions for state workers, is paying Louisville banker Tommy Elliott’s $50,000 legal bill from the lawsuit he filed against Bevin after he removed Elliott from the agency’s Board of Trustees. The suit was filed June 17 and was joined by KRS trustee Mary Helen Peter. The legal bills were obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting through a public records request to KRS. The reimbursement, ultimately borne by KRS’ roughly 355,000 pension holders, drew a rebuke from the Bevin administration.
State retirees and a member of the state Senate leadership are voicing sharp displeasure with a 25 percent raise given last Friday to the top official of the financially struggling Kentucky Retirement Systems.
Following media reports last year, Kentucky Retirement Systems promised more disclosure. Now, the pension plan for public employees is reporting its annual investment expenses are running 75 percent higher than reported in previous years.
The former manager of a New York investment fund holding $24 million for Kentucky Retirement Systems has pleaded guilty to charges that he looted $9.3 million from the fund and falsified its financial records.
Just as the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting learned eight months ago, a Louisville high school teacher has been told that financial details about his state-funded retirement plan are secret and can’t be disclosed.
In response to the Kentucky state pension plan’s willingness to pay hefty fees for billions of dollars in investments it can’t publicly disclose, one state representative said Thursday he is introducing a bill to make pensions subject to state open-access laws.
Kentucky Retirement Systems, which runs the $16 billion pension and health care funds for state, city and county workers and retirees, will be providing more detail about the fees it pays to the managers of its so-called “alternative” investments.
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