DoL Removes DC Union in Fiduciary Breach Case

August 18, 2006 ( - Federal officials have announced that they have obtained a temporary federal court restraining order, removing a security guard union as fiduciary of its pension and health plans.

The US Department of Labor (DoL) said in a news release that the order covered the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO), and its executive director, Caleb Gray-Burriss, as fiduciaries.

An investigation, conducted by the Washington, DC district office of the department’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA), revealed that the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by making numerous, ongoing withdrawals from NASPSO’s   pension plan account starting in September 2004.   To date, Burriss and NASPSO have not accounted for approximately $95,000 in such deductions.

Filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the temporary restraining order immediately removes Burriss and NASPSO from their positions with the plans, bars them from having control or decisionmaking authority over the assets of any employee benefit plan and freezes all accounts of Burriss and NASPSO that contain plan assets until a court decision is issued, the news release said.

NASPSO is an approximately 800-member labor union representing security guards in the Washington, DC area.   Burriss established and became the union trustee of the pension plan in June 2004 and the health plan on January 2006, according to the government.