Central Falls retirees to investigate pension funds

Posted 11/15/11

Retired police and firefighters from City of Central Falls filed papers last week seeking authority from the bankruptcy court to subpoena information from John Hancock Financial Services Inc., the bankrupt city’s pension fund manager.

The retired workers said in their papers that they have “concerns” about whether deductions from their salaries were turned over to the pension fund as required. They also want to learn whether money in the pension fund was “ever improperly paid over to or diverted for the city’s general fund.”

While dealing with its finances in a municipal chapter bankruptcy, the city is in control of a receiver appointed beforehand. The receiver is negotiating new contracts with unions representing city workers. The receiver filed a proposed debt adjustment plan for the city in September not intended to affect bondholders. For details on the proposal, click here for the Sept. 23 Bloomberg bankruptcy report.

The receiver, Robert G. Flanders Jr., is a former justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The city, population 18,000, filed for municipal reorganization under Chapter 9 on Aug. 1. Along with the petition, Flanders filed papers to terminate three union contracts.

The case is In re City of Central Falls, 11-13105, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Rhode Island (Providence).

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