Release Date: August 16, 2006
U.S. Department of Labor Obtains Order Removing Washington, DC Union Executive as Trustee of Pension and Health Plans
Washington, DC - A federal court in Washington, DC has removed the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO), and its executive director, Caleb A. Gray-Burriss, as fiduciaries of the pension and health plans of NASPSO, according to a temporary restraining order obtained by the U.S. Department of Labor.
NASPSO is a labor union representing security guards in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The union has approximately 800 members. Burriss established and became the union trustee of the pension plan in June 2004 and the health plan on January 2006.
The investigation, conducted by the Washington, DC district office of the department’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA), revealed that the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by making numerous, ongoing withdrawals from NASPSO’s pension plan account starting in September 2004. To date, Burriss and NASPSO have not accounted for approximately $95,000 in withdrawals from the pension account.
“The egregious and illegal behavior demonstrated by Burriss and NASPSO required swift and immediate action to preserve plan assets,” said Mabel Capolongo, regional director of the Philadelphia office of the EBSA. “Those who hold positions of trust with employee benefit plans must act in the best interest of the plan and its participants.”
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the temporary restraining order immediately removes Burriss and NASPSO from their positions with the plans; bars them from having control or decision-making authority over the assets of any employee benefit plan; and freezes all accounts of Burriss and NASPSO that contain plan assets until a court decision is issued.
In fiscal year 2005, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.7 billion related to pension, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of American workers and their families. Employers and workers with questions or concerns regarding their private-sector pension and health plans can contact the EBSA Washington district office at 301.713.2000 or EBSA’s toll-free number of 1.866.444.EBSA (3272). Information is also available from the agency’s Web site at www.dol.gov/ebsa.
(Chao v. Caleb A. Gray-Burriss)
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