For Immediate Release: May 11, 2011
US Labor Department sues trustee of defunct Mentor, Ohio, company to recover profit sharing plan assets
Case involves improper transfer of nearly $97,000 belonging to 11 employee participants
MENTOR, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor has sued the trustee of the North Coast Wood Products Profit Sharing Plan, Harry Fishleigh III, for improperly transferring $96,837.63 in plan assets to his son, Steven Fishleigh, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
"This case demonstrates a clear breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the trustee," said Paul C. Baumann, director of the Cincinnati Regional Office of the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration. "When plan fiduciaries fail to act in the best interest of plan participants, the Labor Department will hold them accountable."
The suit alleges that the defendant transferred the total plan assets, belonging to 11 participants, to his son from July 2006 to July 2009. The defendant was president and part owner of Mentor-based North Coast Wood Products Inc., which ceased operations in late 2005.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, the suit seeks to restore to the plan all losses, including lost opportunity costs. The suit also seeks the distribution of plan assets to affected plan participants and to permanently bar the defendant from serving as a fiduciary or service provider to any employee benefit plan covered by ERISA.
The department's legal action resulted from an investigation by EBSA's Cincinnati office. Employers and workers can contact that office at 859-578-4680 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for assistance with problems related to private sector pension and health plans.
EBSA protects the security of the retirement, health and other workplace-related benefits of America's workers, retirees and their families. The agency oversees approximately 708,000 private sector retirement plans, 2.8 million health plans and other plans that provide benefits to more than 150 million Americans. Collectively, these plans hold more than $6 trillion in assets. Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Solis v. Harry Fishleigh III, North Coast Wood Products Profit Sharing Plan
# # #
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.