Perk-Filled Vendors Pay Ohio Pension Fund

April 26, 2005 ( - Two investment firms have paid an Ohio state pension plan $124,000 for illegally "wining and dining" pension fund trustees.

American Express Financial Corp. has paid the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund almost $40,000, while Northwinds Marketing Group paid the fund over $84,000. These figures were over three times what they spent between 1998 and 2003 on meals, trips and entertainment for trustees of the fund, according to the Dayton Daily News.

The firms also paid the Ohio Ethics Commission $40,000 to reimburse the office for the costs of its investigation into the matter.

This may not be the end of payments, however. Other vendors have been accused of paying for meals with pension trustees – while, at the same time, they were receiving large money management contracts from the fund. Overall, four vendors received $33 million in fees over the five-year time frame, the Daily News reports.

Following the scandal, the then-board chairman David Harker (See Grand Jury Charges Ohio Pension Official ) resigned from his position. Another pension trustee, Thomas Bennett, has been sentenced to probation and community service, as well as fined, for violations committed in his position, according to the Daily News.