Portland Administrator Settles on Retirement Funds Misuse Claim

December 29, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The US Department of Labor (DoL) has reached a settlement with the president of a Portland firm for alleged misuse of retirement funds.

The Oregonian reports that, under a consent judgment filed in US District Court in Portland, Ralph Johnson will pay $100,000 to the Litho Development & Research Inc Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Johnson will not be eligible to receive any of the funds.

The settlement also removes Johnson as plan trustee and appoints an independent fiduciary to pay claims, according to the news report. Johnson admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement.

Francis Clisham, a DoL official, could not say what Johnson did with the money, but the DoL originally accused Johnson of withdrawing $550,000 from the ESOP in 1999 “to further his own interests.”

“This case sends a strong message to those responsible for employee benefit plans that they cannot use their employees’ funds for their own personal benefit,” said Clisham, in a news release.