New York Union Must Pay Pension Plan $431,000

April 4, 2005 ( - The US Department of Labor (DoL) has obtained a consent judgement in a case brought against a New York union for illegal use of plan assets.

>The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 2682 has been forced to pay $431,000 to the local’s benefit plan for using plan assets to pay unreasonable expenses and for services allegedly provided to the plans, according to a Doll press release.

>The DoL sued the local in March 2003, along with the president and trustee of its benefits plan, Joseph Cruz, as well as other current and former trustees and the benefits plan and Local 2682 Building Corp. The suit, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, charged that the trustees paid Local 2682 an unreasonable amount for unnecessary services or for services that were not provided to the plans, according to the DoL. The lawsuit also alleged that the trustees illegally loaned pension plan assets to the Local 2682 Building Corporation, which is owned by two of the trustees, as well as used the plan assets to pay the salary of an absent employee. On top of this, the suit also contends that that trustees overcharged the plans for rent and expenses for space in the building housing the funds and the union local, and leased, for the plan administrator, a car used, at least in part, for business unrelated to the plans.

>Under the consent judgment, Cruz is forbidden from ever being a fiduciary for a plan governed by federal pension law. Also, the union’s local and local’s building corporation must transfer ownership of Local 2682 Building Corp. to the pension plan.

>In addition to these penalties, the DoL may assess civil penalties regarding the illegal transactions.