AMENDMENT TO SB-294, WHICH REPORTEDLY
BOOSTED THE RETIREMENT PENSION OF
LOUISIANA STATE POLICE (LSP) COL. MIKE EDMONDSON
BY $30,000/YEAR (later revealed to be $55,000/year, or a 70% increase).
Note: Based on the best
available data (which should
be spelled out at the next LSPRB meeting), an indicated Present Value Impact
(i.e. cost in TODAY's dollars based on a 7% return rate and a 30-year retirement)
of approximately $682,000, which is offset by an estimated balance of $500,000 in
Col Edmondson's retirement account, for a NET PRESENT VALUE cost of
$182,000. Based on these assumptions, this amendment translates into an aggregate
drain on fund assets through 2044 of almost $1.4 million.
The material presented below likely may have never seen the light of day had it not been for the bold and thorough investigative reporting of Mr. Tom Aswell together with the incredible follow-through thereafter by both Mr. Aswell and the “King of Subversive Bloggers” (per James Gill of The Advocate) - C. B. Forgotston!!
June 2, 2014
Despite subsequent statements by Col. Edmondson (see 7/21/14 entry below) that everything was above-board
and all was done properly and in accordance with proper procedure, the above video
depicts EXACTLY the manner in which the amendment was adopted and approved.
Subsequently, all legislators (including those who served on the conference committee)
would claim they didn't have a clue what they were voting on and viewed it as
innocent and innocuous. The presentation above would provide no evidence whatsoever
to the contrary.
July 11, 2014
Investigative reporter Tom Aswell publishes this bombshell blog post exposing the whole scandal.
July 16, 2014
LSP Retirement System Executive Director Irwin Felps placed this item on the Board's agenda
to provide added transparency to what may have transpired regarding SB-294.
Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy addresses the LSP Retirement System Board
relaying his concerns and outlining his desired investigative aspects into what transpired and why.
Treasurer Kennedy responds to reporters' questions after his presentation
to the LSP Retirement System Board.
July 18, 2014
When every single member of the conference committee denies being the legislator to add the amendment, C. B. Forgotston posts this priceless jab at the six (6) legislators using some, shall we say, colorful and thought-provoking language.
July 21, 2014
Upon uncovering the fact that the six legislators plan to lay all the blame on Sen. Neil Riser's staff attorney, Mr. Forgotston openly questions whether she's the culprit or the scapegoat.
Apparently "feeling the heat" from the controversy, Col Edmondson agrees to appear on Jim Engster's show on WRKF public radio show at 9:00 a.m. and answer questions posed to him by Mr. Engster and a few call-in radio listeners. Highlights:
Col. Edmondson initially responds to controversy.
Col Edmondson expands his initial explanation of the controversy.
Col. Edmondson lambasts C. B. Forgotston and unnamed other bloggers (Tom gets cheated out of any direct credit) for "irresponsible reporting" regarding the whole issue.
Col Edmondson addresses speculation he may run for Lt. Governor in 2015.
Col Edmondson answers a question of a school teacher regarding whether she should obtain the same benefit he has been bestowed.
Speaking before the Baton Rouge Press Club, Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite (and candidate
for Louisiana Governor in 2015) addresses a question posed by Robert Burns regarding recent
statements that Rep. Edwards would request an investigation of the whole matter of SB-294's controversial amendment.
July 23, 2014
Robert Burns makes public records request to LSPRB Executive Director Irwin Felps, who responds within an hour in providing the November, 2008 minutes from the LSPRB meeting. Burns then highlights items in the minutes showing efforts to try and accomplish this same goal way back then. Reviewing those minutes provided considerable insight into the declining financial health of the LSP retirement system. Here are a few revelations:
1. The Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) of the system has risen from $199 million @ 6/30/08 to $323 million @ 6/30/14 (a 62% increase). It's interesting to note that the UAL of $199 million was at a time the stock market was tanking, whereas the $323 million UAL today exists despite the fact the stock market is hitting all-time highs. Note: This is not a reflection of poor performance by the system's investments but rather is a function of the State of Louisiana not funding its share of the system's contributions.
2. Based on an approximate 922 active troopers, the UAL @ 6/30/14 stands at approximately $350,000 per trooper.
3. To amortize the $350,000 per trooper UAL over 15 years @ a 7% annual return on system assets, the required annual contribution (combined by both trooper and state) would be approximately $38,000 per year per trooper.
4. When one board member asked Charles Hall, LSPRB actuary, during the November 2008 meeting, "if a trooper asks for advice on joining DROP, should I advise them to enroll or not?" Mr. Hall's response: "Not if they anticipate significant salary increases (stated to be 15% - 20%) during the next three years."
5. Col Edmonson was present to hear that statement, and he instantly realized that, since he enrolled in DROP 2 1/2 years previously, he'd experienced a 70% INCREASE in his salary. Consequently, he instantly knew in November of 2008 just what a mistake had been made in underestimating his future earnings. It would appear this whole scandal entails a covert mechanism for correcting that underestimate on Col. Edmondson's part.
July 24, 2014
State Treasurer John Kennedy sends this letter to LSP Executive Director Irwin Felps, Jr. outlining exactly what all he wants covered and investigated regarding the whole incident. The letter is copied to each Board Member as well as Board Members for the Teachers Retirement System, the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System, and the Louisiana School Employees retirement system.
A special investigative report regarding this scandal airs on Fox 8 Investigates in New Orleans. The instigative report, aired by Fox 8's Lee Zurik, reports that sources identify State Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia) to be the conference committee member who inserted the amendment into the bill.
July 25, 2014
Apparently feeling the relentless pressure, Col. Edmonson makes a public statement that he "will not accept" the increased benefit. Nevertheless, a law remains on the books whereby he (or the other impacted trooper) can readily change his mind. Hence, the next LSP board meeting should be interesting to see if the LSPRB will vote to pursue a declaratory judgment in 19th JDC seeking to have the legislation declared unconstitutional and thus resolve the issue once and for all and leave no room for a "change of heart" as Col. Edmondson draws much closer to his planned retirement.
July 28, 2014
Sensing the same concern expressed under the 7/25/14 caption above (that Edmondson may change his mind), Fox 8 in New Orleans does another investigative report with extensive interviews with C. B. Forgotston as well as (via phone) State Treasurer John Kennedy.
July 31, 2014
In a response to a FOIA request by Louisiana Voice's Tom Aswell (who initially broke the whole scandal), LSP Capt. Jason Starnes expresses disdain for Louisiana Voice reporter Robert Burns having videotaped the LSP meeting of July 16, 2014 (see above entry). In his July 31, 2014 blog entry, Mr. Aswell provides great insight and analysis of those internal emails. It's interesting to note that the email is dated July 16, 2014 (the same day of the meeting and the same day the videos were uploaded and this page became available to the public). Talk about fast efforts to go into "scramble mode" in creating talking points to try and keep the retirement boost intact!!
Stay tuned folks! We'll update this webpage as further developments arise!!
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