Cincinnati Pension Suit Dismissed

September 23, 2003 ( - A Ohio judge has turned aside a lawsuit by the city of Cincinnati pension fund trustees seeking to force the city to return a quarter of the its $55-million windfall to the fund.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Beth Myers ruled that a taxpayers’ lawsuit to keep the city from spending the money on a variety of neighborhood and development projects was inappropriate because there was no evidence the pension system was underfunded or that the general public would be harmed by the proposed municipal spending, according to the Cincinnati Post.

Arguments by the Cincinnati Retirement System Board of Trustees that at least 27% of the cash should be returned to the fund were advanced only for city retirees and not the general public, Myers ruled.

Trustees, who oversee the pension system used by current and former city employees, sued the city over the use of the $55 million windfall. The city earned the money from the sale of shares it came to hold after the conversion last year of its health-care insurance provider, Anthem Inc., from a policyholder-owned, nonprofit firm to a stockholder-owned, for-profit health-care company.

State law prohibits the city from owning stock. The amount sought in the pension trustee suit dismissed by Myers was the amount paid by the fund for insurance premiums. City Council allocated the money for various neighborhood and development projects in the 2003-2004 municipal budget.