MA County Fund Losses Record Secrecy Fight

March 4, 2005 ( - The Middlesex Retirement System has to turn over documents about its substantial 2003 losses, a Massachusetts judge ruled.

Judge Paul Chernoff decided that town of Acton officials have the right to peruse those files about the system’s $38 million loss on a fund handled by a company called Cambridge Financial Management, the Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun reported.

The system claimed it could properly hold back the documents because of its ongoing lawsuit against Mellon Financial over the losses (See  Massachusetts Fund Sues Mellon for $40 Million ). The losses led to large increases in the assessments Middlesex Retirement’s member towns pay into the pension fund, the news report said.

Chernoff said Middlesex does not have to release the documents until May 9. He said the delay will give the state’s Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) time to complete its investigation into the retirement board’s activities.

A recent PERAC audit of Middlesex’s records uncovered poor money management and questionable travel expenses, according to the news report. The commission temporarily barred the Middlesex board from hiring new money managers and mandated a PERAC presence at all board meetings.