Retirement Plans Lawsuit

Teacher group to pay $375,000 settlement in investments lawsuit.

Retirement Plans

Baton Rouge, LA: (Mar-18-08) Brian Minturn brought a whistleblower's lawsuit against the Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) in 2004, alleging that he was wrongly fired in 2003 in retaliation, after he disclosed ethics violations by the TRSL board and its investors.

Minturn filed the lawsuit in July 2004 in Baton Rouge's 19th Judicial District Court. He stated that he became concerned about the relationship between Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst, Inc., a Dallas firm where the retirement system has more than $1 billion invested, and some TRSL staff and board members. Minturn said that he felt that $1 billion was too large a percentage of the system's assets to be with one firm and worried it was in high-risk investments. Records show that in 2004, the state Board of Ethics fined a TRSL board member, a former executive director and its investment consultant for accepting "things of value" from a firm holding a large amount of the system's retirement investments.

Records disclose that the parties reached a settlement in the case, on which the TRSL agreed to pay $375,000 to resolve allegations. The settlement agreement, which was finalized in late July 2007, mandated that the retirement system and the state pay Minturn $285,000 and award $90,000 for his legal fees. [THE ADVOCATE: TRSL, FORMER DIRECTOR END SUIT]

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