DoL, ULLICO Reach Settlement

March 16, 2004 ( - A consent judgement has been reached in a case of pension plan assets used by the fund's advisor and life insurance company to purchase and develop a 120-acre tract of land in Las Vegas.

>The US Department of Labor (DoL) obtained a consent judgment requiring Washington, DC-based Trust Fund Advisors (TFA) and Union Labor Life Insurance Co to pay $2.4 million in restitution to two Laborers International Union pension funds.   This after the DoL charged the two were in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for the land purchases, according to a news release.

>The DoL contends Union Labor Life Insurance and TFA – t he investment manager to the two funds sponsored by the Laborers International Union-the National Industrial Pension Fund and the Local Union and District Council Pension Fund – failed to properly investigate the merits of the real estate project.   Ultimately, the project of redeveloping the land was abandoned in 1997 and the pension funds suffered losses when the property was sold in June 1999 for less than the amount of the investment.

“This Administration has a strong track record in protecting the benefits promised to  America’s workers, and last year we achieved record monetary results totaling $1.4 billion for retirement, 401(k), health and other programs,” US Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release . “The Labor Department’s legal actions in the Union Labor Life Insurance case will restore lost assets to thousands of union workers and make clear that those who manage union funds cannot ignore their fiduciary responsibilities.”

The National Industrial Pension Fund covered 46,508 participants and the Local Union and District Council Pension Fund covered 7,106 participants as of January 2002. The funds had cumulative assets in excess of $1.1 billion.