Colorado Treasurer Denied Access to PERA Records

April 5, 2012 ( - Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton lost his bid for a court order for access to records of the state’s Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). 
Stapleton filed a suit in September after his earlier request for access to records of the top 20% of PERA’s recipients was denied (see “CO Treasurer to Sue for Pension Information” and “Colorado PERA Pushes Back on Member Disclosure”).

Stapleton had requested the annual retirement benefit, year of retirement, age of retirement, last five years of salary as a PERA member, employer division and ZIP code information, reports PERA.

Denver District Court Judge Edward D. Bronfin stated,  “The Treasurer—just like any Trustee of the PERA Board—is not entitled to unlimited, unfettered access to individual PERA member and benefit recipient information which is rendered confidential by statute. Rather, any request for such confidential information must be in furtherance of the Treasurer’s—or other Trustees’—fiduciary duty ‘solely’ to act in the interest of PERA members and benefit recipients…The request for confidential information must reasonably be calculated or designed to further ‘solely’ the interests of PERA members and benefit recipients.” 

Bronfin concluded, “Here the Treasurer was unable or unwilling to provide his co-Trustees and co-fiduciaries with any explanation about how the requested information was reasonably designed to further ‘solely’ the interests of PERA members and benefit recipients.” He explained further, “Because the Treasurer was unable to articulate any legitimate explanation for how or why the requested information was needed, or how or why it would further his fiduciary duty ‘solely’ to PERA members and benefit recipients, the court concludes…the PERA Board acted appropriately in denying the Treasurer’s request for the requested information.”