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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

EBSA News Release: [10/19/2011]
Contact Name: Rhonda Burke or Scott Allen
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976 or x6976
Release Number: 11-1511-CHI

US Department of Labor obtains judgment to distribute $1.35 million to participants of Minneapolis-based Northland Inn's 401(k) plan

MINNEAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a default judgment against the fiduciary of the Northland Inn 401(k) plan, Parkland Hotel Investors LP, requiring the appointment of an independent fiduciary to terminate the plan and distribute its assets.

The Labor Department filed a complaint on March 15 alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act following an investigation by the Kansas City, Mo., regional office of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration. The investigation found that the plan was abandoned after Parkland ceased operations in July 2009 and that assets totaling $1.35 million were not distributed to 96 plan participants.

"Our legal action underscores the Labor Department's commitment to hold accountable those who are entrusted with the assets of workers' retirement plans," said EBSA Assistant Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi. "We will continue to help workers obtain their rightful benefits when plan fiduciaries violate the law."

Plans become "orphan plans" when they are abandoned by all of the fiduciaries designated to manage and operate them, as in this case. As a result of the abandonment, participants and beneficiaries are unable to receive information or obtain distributions from their accounts.

EBSA protects the retirement, health and other workplace-related benefits of America's workers and retirees, and their families. The agency oversees approximately 708,000 private-sector retirement plans, 2.8 million health plans and a similar number of other benefit plans that cover more than 150 million Americans.

The suit was filed in federal district court in Minneapolis and was litigated by the department's regional solicitor in Chicago. For help with problems related to private-sector retirement and health plans, employers and workers can reach EBSA's Kansas City Regional Office at 816-285-1800, or toll-free at 866-444-3272. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Solis v. Parkland Hotel Investors LP and the Northland Inn 401(k) Plan
Civil Action Number: 11-00654