Illinois IMRF Board fumbles policies, jeopardizes state pensions

Illinois IMRF Board fumbles policies, jeopardizes state pensions

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The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), which manages hundreds of millions of dollars of retiree pensions, may have fumbled a major policy decision, opening the door to the possible revocation of pensions already awarded to many retirees. At issue is the IMRF’s leadership which might jeopardize other existing pensions

Tower Legal on Invalidation of Pension Transfers

CHICAGO, Sept. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — An appellate court issued an opinion invalidating a long used policy regarding the right of public employees to transfer pension credits. According to one involved attorney, “it could open a Pandora’s Box of litigation adversely affecting hundreds of innocent retirees.”

IMRF Banner

IMRF Banner

On June 26, 2015 a reviewing court invalidated an Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) policy initiated byLouis Kosiba, IMRF’s Executive Director, granting individuals the right to combine retirement benefits by transferring past service credits of other public retirement funds into IMRF one time after retiring. The appellate court affirmed a circuit court judge who ruled the Illinois Pension Code only allowed active employees to purchase credits.

The dispute arose when prior to his retirement IMRF permitted, approved and guided a former Oak Brook police chief with the transfer of his past municipal pension credits into IMRF. Rather than take a full year Thomas Sheahan transferred funds within days of retirement.  Eight months after IMRF began paying his annuity, theVillage of Oak Brook contested the validity of the transfer in court. The court’s ruling invalidated Sheahan’s pension.

“This isn’t just about my client; if the appellate decision stands hundreds of other unsuspecting IMRF pensioners are in jeopardy,” said Sheahan’s attorney Lonny Ogus.

Ogus explained, “Like hundreds of thousands of pensioners across the state, Tom Sheahan kept up his end of the bargain and followed all the rules.” In the ruling, the court determined that the Sheahan had done nothing improper and followed rules IMRF had established. Ogus said that other pensioners who availed themselves of this policy might be in for a shock. Mr. Ogus continued, “IMRF has done nothing to stop paying those who did the same thing as my client, and is apparently paying them improperly.”

Ogus further asserted that if IMRF stopped paying the affected retirees- those “hundreds” will likely sue over the termination of their pension as what they did was fully authorized by IMRF.

Ogus stated, “My client did nothing wrong and neither the circuit court or the appellate court found that he did anything but listen to IMRF employees and act on their instruction following their rules exactly.”

This ruling could also invite suits from local units of government seeking to curtail pensions of employees who used this policy to enhance their annuities.

Press Release source: SOURCE Tower Legal: CONTACT: Jack Lanahan is an attorney at Tower Legal, john.lanahan@towerjustice.com http://www.towerjustice.com

This post has already been read 7120 times!

RayHananiaINN

RayHananiaINN

Columnist, blogger at Illinois News Network
Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

Hanania covered Chicago political beats including Chicago City Hall while at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and later for the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992).

The recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, Hanania was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hananiaalso received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
RayHananiaINN