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News Release

Ohio Businessman Ordered To Restore Nearly $193,000 To 401(K) Plan

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a judgment requiring the owner of TennOhio Transportation Co. of Columbus, Ohio to restore $192,764 to the company’s 401(k) profit sharing plan and appoint an independent person to oversee the orderly termination of the plan.

Under the judgment, the court appointed M. Larry Lefoldt as the independent plan fiduciary with authority to terminate the 401(k) plan and distribute plan assets, including money restored to the plan, to all participants except defendant John Armstrong. The judgment also permanently bars Armstrong from serving in a position of trust to any plan governed by federal pension law.

On April 22, 1999, the department sued Armstrong and TennOhio for failing to deposit employee contributions into investment accounts of the company's 401(k) plan and keeping plan money in accounts of TennOhio and related companies. The plan covered as many as 356 employees of TennOhio and three related companies: Marpam Truck and Trailer Co., Commercial Trailer Co. and Garland Transportation Co. The plan had assets of $649,931.00 as of June 30, 1997.

The department’s lawsuit alleged that Armstrong violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to remit voluntary employee contributions to the 401(k) plan's investment accounts over the period Nov. 1, 1996, to Aug. 25, 1997. Armstrong was the president of TennOhio and a major owner of the three related companies. He also allegedly held plan money in the corporate accounts of the companies sponsoring the plan and failed to hold plan assets in trust.

Joseph Menez, Director of the Cincinnati Regional Office of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA), said, “This case exemplifies our commitment to protect the hard-earned benefits of workers. Workers can help us protect their plan benefits by contacting our office at 606-578-4680 if they have questions or suspect abuse of their pension, health or other benefit plans.”

The judgment, entered on June 30 in federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, resulted from an investigation by the Cincinnati Regional Office of the PWBA into alleged violations of ERISA.

Herman v. Armstrong

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7775.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
July 6, 2000
Release Number