Johns Manville Retirees Call for DoL Probe

August 4, 2003 ( - The head of the Johns Manville retiree group has called on US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to investigate whether Johns Manville Corporation deliberately falsified ERISA-required reports in order to make a case for health cost hikes.

In a letter to Chao, Johns Manville Retirees Association President John Leasher said it appeared Johns Manville may have engaged in a campaign of deliberate deception in order to justify further health cost shifting to retirees when, according to the company’s summary annual reports, the company’s retiree costs had stayed pretty much the same over the past decade, according to a news release.

Among many examples, Leasher cited the 2001 summary annual reports for two Johns Manville retiree health plans that reported retiree health expenditures in excess of $42 million while the full audited financial reports of the plans for that year only showed expenditures slightly in excess of $21 million.

Leasher said, “We are asking the Department of Labor not only to investigate this matter thoroughly but to consider referring it to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution if the results of the investigation warrant it. It looks to us as if Johns Manville may have intentionally exaggerated its increases in retiree health costs in official reports required by federal law.”

Leasher said he began monitoring the company’s retiree medical reports in 2001 and has repeatedly requested clarification from the company on reporting inconsistencies. The company, according to Leasher, has never fully explained the discrepancies and at times never responded to requests for further clarification.