Democrats in the New York State are attempting to block millions of dollars from going to three pension funds that affect hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio. New York State Attorney General (NYAG) Eric Schneiderman’s office and its senior trial counsel David Ellenhorn are trying to delay the settlement and have already reached between shareholders in AIG and AIG chairman & CEO Maurice R. (Hank) Greenberg.
The settlement of $115 million, which was reached August 10, 2009 after the initial suit was filed in August 2004, would have helped replenish three major Ohio public pension funds: the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, and Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund.
These funds are badly needed; only last month the Ohio state legislature overcame its partisan differences over the last 5 years and passed a package of bills that would try to strengthen five of Ohio’s public pension funds. Those five groups, Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System, School Employees Retirement System, Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund have funds that cover 1.8 million Ohioans. The pension funds were on the brink of insolvency.
Audits of the five funds found that, without making the necessary changes, the pension funds’ long-term solvency over the next 30 years would be at risk. The funds said they were losing as much as $1 million a day while the legislature figured out what to do.
The NYAG’s office filed the suit, even though they have no standing in the matter. They are neither a member of the Settlement Class or an intervenor. And their conduct is improper according to the Second Circuit; it is improper to use state actions as leverage to interfere with a federal class settlement.
Most cynically, the only new matter the Attorney General’s office has raised is a claim that the Class Notice is defective. They had ample opportunity to contribute to that notice, and were twice invited by the plaintiffs to contribute proposed language for the notice, but were silent after the Class Notice had been issued and after the Class overwhelmingly voted to accept the settlement. This was all to effectuate a strategy whereby they could file suit later.
While Democrats tout their party as the party that is truly concerned about retirees, they have no qualms about preventing those retirees from obtaining the fruit of their labor.