DoL Gets outside Fiduciary for FL Plan

February 12, 2007 ( - The Department of Labor (DoL) has gotten a court-appointed independent fiduciary to manage a Fernandina Beach, Florida executive search firm's pension plan.

A news release from the DoL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) said the court order also removed from his post as plan fiduciary the former owner of Search Alliance, Thomas Byrnes, and barred both the company and Byrnes from any further service as a fiduciary.

EBSA said in the news release that it sought the court order after discovering that the company and Byrnes had not complied with an April 2006 court order to restore $141,638 to the plan and to step down as fiduciaries by the end of October 2006. Regulators said they were also concerned about “several unexplained transfers of funds from the plan accounts.”

The Labor Department had sued the defendants in 2004 for improperly making $105,235 in loans from the pension plan to benefit them and for failing to collect money owed on the loans.  

According to the news release, the company sponsored the pension plan for 19 participants and had $122,449.27 in plan assets, according to the latest data available to the department.