MA Property Mgr. Denies Pension Wrongdoing

November 9, 2004 ( - Joseph Buscone, a Massachusetts property manager who is being sued for shortchanging his company's pension plan, is now refuting the charges.

>The 64-year-old Buscone is the defendant in a suit by the US Department of Labor (DoL), which claims Buscone violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by miscalculating the pension benefits owed to his employees, according to the Milford Daily News

>The DoL said Buscone financially benefited from the move by lowering the company’s insurance premiums owed to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures private-sector pension plans (See  DoL Files Suit Against Pension Owner, Alleging ERISA Violation  ). Government officials also say Buscone fired an employee, Camilla Amandolare, after she complained about the alleged scheme in 2001.

>During a telephone interview with the newspaper, Buscone said Amandolare’s firing was due to her poor performance, not her complaints about the pension plan. The pension program was established in 1998 and continues to cover about 10 employees today. “The key is that this thing is totally funded by me,” said Buscone, adding that the company’s pension fund has about $1 million in reserves. “I didn’t have to go back five years, I didn’t have to go back zero years. I did this because I was trying to protect my employees.”