DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The mayor of the City of Dallas has filed suit against the Dallas Police and Fire Pension system.
In an unofficial capacity Mike Rawlings filed the personal lawsuit to immediately stop lump-sum withdrawals from the system.
Since August, retirees emptying out their deferred retirement accounts have depleted more than $500 million from the fund. The fund was undermined in recent years by overvalued investments and risky real estate deals, as well as the generous benefits for its deferred retirement program.
As to why he filed the lawsuit, Rawlings issued the following statement –
“As a 40-year resident and taxpayer of the City of Dallas, I have chosen to personally file suit in District Court not only to protect the retirement benefits of all our police and fire personnel, but also to protect the pocketbooks of all my fellow citizens and taxpayers. I am funding this suit and at no time will any taxpayer dollars be expended in this effort.”
In response to the filing the Dallas Police Association tweeted that “this should fix everything.”
Last week Rawlings wrote a letter to the pension board asking it to stop deferred retirement account withdrawals. “Already, as a result of your actions, the Pension System’s ability to pay its members’ future benefits has been irreparably reduced from a period of 15 years to 10 years,” he wrote.
The pension system has been described as “on life support” as officials have said it’s losing more than $3 million a month.
The ailing fund has gained national attention after causing a downgrade in the city’s credit rating.
Ailing pension systems around the country are watching to see how Dallas moves forward to stave off insolvency.
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