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Employee Benefits Security Administration

News Release

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6876/312-353-6976
Email: Allen.scott@dol.gov/Burke.rhonda@dol.gov
Release Number: 11-572-CHI

US Department of Labor sues owner of Racine, Wis.-based Kiernan Heating and Air Conditioning, to restore more than $19,000 to retirement plan

RACINE, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Brian T. Kiernan, owner of Kiernan Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., a defunct Racine company, for allegedly failing to forward $19,811.98 in employee contributions to the company's savings incentive match plan for employees individual retirement account in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

"The Labor Department is committed to holding accountable those who are entrusted with the assets of workers' individual retirement plans," said Steve Haugen, regional director of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration in Chicago. "We will continue to help workers obtain their rightful benefits when plan fiduciaries fail to do so."

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in Milwaukee, alleges that Brian T. Kiernan failed to forward employee contributions to the plan from Jan. 1, 2008, through March 31, 2009, instead, the funds were held in the company's corporate account. Brian T. Kiernan filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on March 15, 2010.

The suit seeks a court order to restore money owed to the plan, including lost opportunity costs. It also seeks to appoint an independent fiduciary to administer the plan, and to terminate the plan if necessary and distribute its assets to participants and beneficiaries. Additionally, any assets due to Brian T. Kiernan's individual plan account would be set off against the amount of the plan's losses. The suit also seeks to prevent the company and Brian T. Kiernan from serving as fiduciaries to any ERISA-covered employee benefit plan in the future.

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 benefit plans that provide benefits to more than 150 million Americans. Collectively, these plans hold more than $6 trillion in assets.

Employers and workers can reach EBSA's Chicago Regional Office at 312-353-0900 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Solis v. Kiernan, Kiernan Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. SIMPLE IRA Plan
Civil Action Number: 2:11-cv-00406

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