Hearing for San Diego Pension Board Members Delayed

October 21, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A preliminary hearing for six former board members for the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System (SDCERS) accused of conflict-of-interest violations has been postponed for a month.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that the hearing was scheduled for October 26, but was rescheduled to November 28 by Superior Court Judge Frederic Link to allow lawyers more time to weed through thousands of documents made available for the case.   About 60,000 documents were released by SDCERS after a federal judge issued a court order for the documents to be turned over to investigators (See  San Diego Pension Board Agrees To Turn Over Documents ).

The materials include correspondence between pension system staffers and private lawyers hired to advise SDCERS in 2003 and later.   In one May 2004 memo an attorney asserted that it was “probable” that a court would find the law was broken when the trustees voted to adopt a city proposal to continue underfunding the pension system while simultaneously enhancing future benefits for city workers (See  SD Pension Lawyer Saw Board Conflict in 2004 ).

At the hearing, prosecutors put on evidence to try to persuade a judge to send the case to trial.  Former board members Cathy Lexin, Ron Saathoff, John Torres, Mary Vattimo, Terri Webster and Sharon Wilkinson have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.   Torres, the last to remain an active board member, turned in his resignation from the board this week (See  Another SD Pension Board Member Resigns ).