Federal agencies received anonymous complaints about mismanagement of the plans, including allegations that family members of some trustees received bonuses from companies that managed investments for the three funds, which total $8.5 billion, reports The Kansas City Star.
According to the newspaper, the court filings do not provide much detail on the issues and people the grand jury is investigating, but the newspaper found that the daughter of a former trustee and union executive works for a company that has been paid millions to manage investments for the three Boilermakers funds.
A March 27 legal motion obtained by The Star says the Kansas City Regional Office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration launched the investigation of the union's employee benefit plans after receiving several anonymous complaints. The complaints alleged "waste and mismanagement" of the funds by trustees, said the 23-page motion. The document said it also was alleged that some of the investment managers for the Boilermakers employee benefit plans "were hired because of familial relationships of the trustees and the investments managers, as well as gifts provided to the trustees from the investment companies."
According to the filing, the Employee Benefits Security Administration opened a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor's inspector general, who has authority to conduct criminal investigations into employee benefit plans. Spokesmen for the two federal offices said they could neither confirm nor deny any investigation.
The three employee benefit plans are known together as the Boilermakers National Funds, and include the Boilermakers National Health and Welfare Fund; the Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust; and the Boilermakers National Annuity Trust.