Document Details Nearly $1B In Pension Payouts
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A court filing has revealed details of nearly $1 billion in payouts known as the 13th check from a Detroit retirement system.
The Detroit Free Press reports the General Retirement System board acknowledged in an affidavit that it gave $756.2 million to active employees from 1985 through 2007. It gave $195 million to retirees during that same time period and sent $445.3 million back to the city.
The affidavit surfaced Tuesday in a filing by attorneys seeking to block a labor union’s attempt to bring back the pension board’s right to distribute such payouts, which City Council banned in 2011. The issue has become a part of Detroit’s bankruptcy case.
Last week, Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr ordered pension fund officials to turn over records on the 13th check.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will hear arguments Wednesday morning about whether he should allow a MERC administrative law judge to force Detroit to retreat on its 13th check ban, the Free Press reported.
Orr said preliminary results from an audit of the General Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System showed that retirees received interest payments of more than 20 percent over a number of years as the pension systems were losing millions of dollars.
The General Retirement System has about 20,500 members. The police and fire system has nearly 12,700 members, according to the audit ordered by Orr.
Orr also said the city has underfunded obligations of about $3.5 billion for pensions and $5.7 billion for retiree health coverage.
In July, Orr made Detroit the largest U.S. city to seek bankruptcy protection. He has said the city has $18 billion or more in debt. Creditors, including city retirees, are fighting the bankruptcy petition in federal court. They claim Orr has not negotiated in good faith on settling the city’s debt and has not proved Detroit is insolvent.
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