Tuesday, October 19, 2021
News for Retirees


The CalPERS Govt Workforce Calls for a New Loyalty Oath!

Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedin Within the case of a traditional Board, the workers are there to assist the Board. At CalPERS,…

By Staff , in Investments , at June 18, 2021



Within the case of a traditional Board, the workers are there to assist the Board. At CalPERS, the reverse is true. The Board is there to do regardless of the President, the CEO, and the Basic Counsel inform them. Or else. 

For individuals who don’t pay a lot consideration to CalPERS, three folks management the movement of knowledge, in addition to meting out secret punishment. The Board President (Henry Jones), Basic Counsel (Matt Jacobs), and CEO (Marcie Frost) management all of it, utilizing a byzantine doc referred to as the “Board of Administration Governance Coverage.” As an alternative of preventing again, a critical majority of the Board members merely roll over, say nothing, and go alongside for the trip. 

The Secret Handshake Membership 

In a transfer that may make Senator Mitch McConnell envious, Basic Counsel Matt Jacobs viciously assaults any Board member or former Board member who dares to state disagreeable truths about CalPERS. Since he can’t vote, he makes use of President Henry Jones as his entrance, whilst many of the Board stays mum to allow them to be a part of “the group.” 

Witness final yr’s over-the-top assault on Board member Margaret Brown, which was evidently an excessive amount of even for the LA Occasions: 

“On Dec. 20, Board President Henry Jones notified Brown by electronic mail that he was unilaterally imposing “personal self-discipline” on her, ostensibly as a result of she used “CalPERS” as a part of her social media handles regardless of being suggested that it was in opposition to California regulation and CalPERS coverage. 

“Jones’ energy to self-discipline Brown is evidently plenary. It doesn’t require the consent of and even session with anybody else on the 13-member board of administration, and isn’t appealable. If you happen to suppose his “personal self-discipline” sounds just like the “double secret probation” levied by Dean Wormer on the refractory brothers of the Delta frat within the film “Animal Home,” you received’t get an argument right here. 

“However that was performed for laughs. That is lethal critical. Jones’ motion provoked Brown to file a lawsuit on June 16 in Sacramento Superior Courtroom. She’s looking for a courtroom order forcing the board to rescind her self-discipline and supply her with an administrative attraction listening to earlier than a impartial choose.” 

Distinction her remedy with Board member Theresa Taylor’s indiscretions beneath. You’ll be unsurprised that Theresa could also be a cheat, but it surely’s OK as a result of she is a constitution member of the “see no evil” group. 

“As we’ll evaluate, first by attacking Brown, Taylor gave the Buyouts story extra prominence than it in any other case would have had. Second, Taylor is underneath investigation for related abuses to those Meng engaged in, particularly, for multi-year failures to report vital earnings on her Assertion of Financial Curiosity (Kind 700), California’s required annual monetary kind for public officers. Which means Taylor is just not a reputable spokesperson on any matter that pertains to propriety or legality. Having her converse up for CalPERS is about as credible as having Trump’s former lawyer/fixer, the felon Michael Cohen, defend Trump. 

“As an apart, the election committee for Taylor’s 2018 marketing campaign can also be underneath Honest Political Practices Fee investigation (case 2020-00074) 

“Taylor sticking her head above the CalPERS parapet merely calls extra consideration to the allegations that Taylor hid earnings, regardless of the Varieties 700 requiring an attestation underneath the penalty of perjury. Taylor has confirmed the costs by amending a few of her Varieties 700 4 years after the very fact to incorporate the earnings that the FPPC criticism stated she did not report.” 

Transferring to 2021

This yr the “see no evil” Board members have been pushed even additional by Jones, Jacobs, and Frost. If you happen to thought the previous was dangerous, simply carry on studying. Inadvertently, it seems that Taylor outed a workers member of CalPERS who had dedicated fraud, and but Henry Jones, Matt Jacobs, and Marcie Frost did nothing in any respect to her after witnessing her reveal confidential details about the fraud at CalPERS. 

“Board Member Theresa Taylor: Lastly I need to handle the difficulty on phrases of different notification of all workers that Ms. Brown talked about. Our CEO lets us know when these events come up when they’re very critical however one thing like that fraud incident that we’re referring to that is smart to return ahead to the board however as a union steward for SEIU I believe understanding there may be plenty of actions that happen in opposition to workers I’m undecided we have to know each single factor.” 

In April, extra got here out and it wasn’t fairly: 

“As you possibly can see from the embedded submitting beneath, CalPERS is suing Gloria Najera, a former worker it says embezzled $685,000 from beneficiaries, together with, Wells Fargo type, from a beneficiary’s financial institution accounts. 

“The civil declare is sketchy on the timetable, however Najera was a clerical employee accountable for updating beneficiary addresses and financial institution direct deposit info. That apparently additionally gave her entry to at the least the final 4 digits of their Social Security numbers. Najera used this info to pilfer instantly from the checking account of 1 beneficiary to the tune of almost $69,000. For 9 others, she diverted funds from dormant CalPERS accounts (the place CalPERS had purpose to suppose the beneficiary was nonetheless alive however had solely out-of-date financial institution deposit info) to financial institution accounts managed by Najera and co-conspirators. 

“But regardless of CalPERS allegedly informing the police in regards to the theft again in January, the perp of this big embezzlement of beneficiary belief funds hasn’t even been arrested, a lot the much less charged.” 

If you happen to’re nonetheless not disgusted by the conduct of Jones, Jacobs, and Frost, verify this out. Basic Counsel Matt Jacobs now believes that he’s actually above the regulation. Refusing to reply detailed Public Data Requests by former Board member (and all-round good man), JJ Jelincic, he obtained CalPERS sued and but he continues to stonewall: 

“CalPERS underneath its basic counsel Matt Jacobs has an increasing number of overtly been taking the place that it’s above the regulation. A slapdown is lengthy overdue. 

“Each of the issues the lawsuit targets are robust on authorized and public curiosity grounds. We’ll get right into a bit extra element beneath. The brief overview is that they arrive out of sweeping and extremely doubtful denials of two completely different Public Data Act requests that Jelinicic submitted. One focuses on to impermissible secret board discussions shortly after then Chief Funding Officer Ben Meng’s sudden resignation final August. The second entails CalPERS’ persevering with efforts to cover information exhibiting the way it got here to overvalue actual property belongings by $583 million. But CalPERS not solely has stated nary a peep about bogus valuations are bigger than the overall quantity it was slotted to spend money on a mothballed solo growth mission, 301 Capitol Mall, but it surely continues to publish stability sheets that embody the inflated outcomes. 

“We imagine CalPERS will likely be much more inclined than normal to struggle these Public Data Act requests as a result of the submitting seeks cures past launch of the information. First, it requests that CalPERS be discovered to have violated the Bagley-Keene Open Assembly Act. Second, to the extent that the choose guidelines that the board mentioned gadgets in closed session that ought to have been agendized for and deliberated in open session, the swimsuit asks that board members be permitted to reveal the contents of these specific discussions in public. Third, the submitting calls on the courtroom to require that CalPERS make video and audio recordings of all closed periods and maintain them for 5 years.” 

For this text I received’t get additional into the weeds, however it’s clear that Jacobs is utilizing beneficiary monies to duck, bob, weave and customarily stonewall answering the questions. Together with a clearly lengthy and costly (for us, the beneficiaries) authorized battle over every part, corresponding to a bogus “demand” to withdraw the swimsuit. Sheesh! 

A Ultimate Slap within the Face of Beneficiaries and taxpayers 

Publicly embarrassed by quite a few funding mismanagement examples by the seemingly incompetent CalPERS workers, final yr, Jacobs resorted to the final refuge of a scoundrel — make every part secret! As I wrote in CityWatch again in August 2020: 

“Whereas all this was continuing, there was no point out of AB 2473, nonetheless floating across the Senate as a DO PASS measure permitting CalPERS to cover their personal fairness investments from everybody. That’s proper, no public information in any respect! So, yours really filed the next with the Senate on August 6. 

“To the Committee:

“My identify is Tony Butka, and I’m each a CalPERS beneficiary in addition to a weekly columnist for the web LA Newspaper Citywatchla.com. I’m asking the Committee to kill this invoice on the grounds that CalPERS made plenty of deliberate misrepresentations to the Legislature; specifically that their ask was simply to get some privateness which might enable them to play personal fairness video games with the massive boys.

“I’ve connected a few articles to display how nuts issues are at CalPERS, as they interact in inside witch hunts, and make dangerous funding selections which they search to cover underneath the language of this invoice.

“First is my current article on simply how slimy and secretive the present Board and the workers who personal them have grow to be. Second, there’s a NakedCapitalism put up relating to their flat-out incompetence in investing.

“Lastly, it’s best to notice that their massive time Funding Officer, Ben Meng has resigned. I connect an article from August sixth which offers the main points.

“Whereas the request was phrased in good logical phrases, beneath CalPERS is asking you to log off on a secrecy provision which will definitely blow up of their faces. They cannot even present cheap returns on their very own and now need to play with the Wall Avenue heavies. God save us.

“Lastly, within the occasion that this atrocity passes the legislature, the names of the legislators who voted for will probably be remembered. There are nearly 2 million beneficiaries of CalPERS, and so they definitely embody registered voters in each legislative space of the State, be it Meeting or Senate. Unhealthy sufficient funding outcomes would doubtless lead to a full courtroom press to cut back the pensions of present and potential pensioners. Give it some thought.

“I implore you to kill the invoice.

Sincerely,

Tony Butka, CalPERS beneficiary, Glassell Park”

 

As soon as the Senate Committee realized that they have been being performed by CalPERS, the creator withdrew the invoice. 

Nonetheless, in an unbelievable demonstration of hubris, this session, CalPERS was again once more with their hide-the-beneficiaries-money-investments invoice. This time, none apart from Dan Walters, the dean of Sacramento pundits, had sufficient. The header of his article tells all of it: “Pending invoice opens door to pension corruption at CalPERS:” 

“Meeting Invoice 386 sailed by way of the Meeting Judiciary Committee final week on a unanimous vote with just about no dialogue about its provisions. 

The measure additionally acquired categorical remedy a couple of days earlier from the Meeting committee that offers with public worker issues. 

Given its cavalier dealing with, one would possibly suppose that AB 386, carried by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, an Elk Grove Democrat, is simply one other minor change in regulation. The truth is, nevertheless, it might enable the financially shaky California Public Workers Retirement System (CalPERS) to semi-secretly lend out untold billions of {dollars} by exempting particulars from the state’s Public Data Act. 

Probably it opens the door to insider dealing and corruption in an company that’s already skilled too many scandals, together with an enormous one which despatched CalPERS’ prime administrator to jail for accepting bribes.” 

Since then, this Invoice has moved quick, and is already over within the Senate, touchdown within the Standing Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement. 

Chair – Dave Cortese SD15 (Santa Clara space)

Capitol Telephone: 916-651-4015 

Vice-Chair – Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (Riverside, Redlands, Yucaipa space)

Capitol Telephone: 916-651-4023 

Member – Josh Newmen SD29 (principally Orange County, Metropolis of Business)

Capitol Telephone: 916-651-4029 

Member – John Laird SD 17 (Santa Cruz coast to San Luis Obispo)

Capitol Telephone: 916-651-4017 

Member – Maria Elena Durazo SD24 (Los Angeles, together with Northeast LA)

Capitol Telephone: 916-651-4024 

If you recognize anybody who’s a CalPERS beneficiary, take into account reaching out to the Committee members, letting them know it is a dangerous invoice simply stuffed with corruption alternatives. I’ve supplied the contact info for his or her district workplaces. 

I don’t know if these persons are on the take or simply plain don’t give a rattling about how the corrupt Jones-Jacobs-Frost administration group performs with the one thing like $440 billion of pension cash (in secret), doubtlessly jeopardizing pensions for over 1.2 million beneficiaries. 

If any of those elected officers tells you every part is ok, present them this Sacramento Bee article: 

“CalPERS assembly planners misspent public cash on board conferences and conferences held outdoors Sacramento in 2016 and 2017, in keeping with an inside audit report. 

“The report, which offers few top-line totals for the expenditures, says the retirement system’s Workplace of Stakeholder Relations improperly paid for cocktail tables, wine glasses, tubs of ice and corkage charges to outfit a “hospitality suite” at an offsite board assembly in July 2016. 

“This story is a subscriber unique. 

“The workplace spent $136 per day on attendees’ meals on the primary day of the multi-day assembly, exceeding the state’s every day restrict of $41, in keeping with the audit. 

“And it booked lodge rooms prematurely on Assembly Planner Account playing cards issued by the Division of Basic Companies that aren’t supposed for use for lodging, auditors discovered.

State workers sometimes are imagined to pay for their very own rooms after which submit journey expense claims to cowl the prices. When a few of the rooms booked prematurely by CalPERS went unused, the system needed to pay about $5,500 in attrition charges, in keeping with the audit. 

‘The audit, accomplished in June 2019, was just lately obtained by way of a Public Data Act request by J.J. Jelincic, a former board member of the $459 billion fund. 

“Auditors reviewed 20 transactions, half of the 40 transactions made on the Division of Basic Companies-issued playing cards from July 2016 by way of June 2018, in keeping with the report. Auditors recognized unallowable bills on 9 of the transactions, the report says.” 

Learn this text. Learn Dan Walters piece on CalPERS for CalMatters. Get offended, be livid that our flesh pressers are evidently comfy with corruption. Contact them. If you happen to’re a CalPERS lined worker/retiree, contact CalPERS’ so-called CEO, Marcie Frost too. Simply don’t maintain your breath for a solution. 

Keep tuned for much more quickly.

 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside group activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in authorities and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Photograph: Max Whittaker / Getty Pictures.     Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.





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