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News Release

Wisconsin Plan Trustee to Forfeit Own Account to Repay Plan for Misusing Profit-Sharing Assets

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Chicago, Illinois - The U. S. Department of Labor obtained a consent judgment on January 24, 2002 permanently barring the trustee of the Sure-Tite Roofing, Inc. profit sharing plan in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, from serving any employee benefit plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Robert Louis Starkmann, owner of the now defunct Sure-Tite Roofing, Inc. and the plan trustee, agreed to waive his pension account balance to repay $5,392.57 owed to the plan as restitution for failure to timely remit employee contributions to the plan.  The court order allows Starkmann to remain as the plan trustee until the profit sharing assets are distributed to other participants and the plan is terminated.

An agreement in the bankruptcy court in Eau Claire, Wisconsin also stipulated that Starkmann cannot discharge the debt owed to the plan after the department filed an adversary complaint to prevent him from doing so during his Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.

On July 9, 2001, the department sued Starkmann and the company for diverting plan assets to pay corporate expenses and failure to obtain a fidelity bond as required by ERISA.

Sure-Tite was a Subchapter S corporation, which employed 12 people until they were terminated in October 2000 due to the company’s financial problems.  Since then, Sure-Tite has ceased operations. The profit sharing plan had 10 participants and assets totaling $16,146.62 as of December 31, 2000.

“This case exemplifies the department’s commitment to protect the benefits promised to employees," said Kenneth Bazar, director of the Chicago regional office of the department’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.  For questions about pension and health benefits, the public can contact the regional office at 312.353.0900.

The consent judgment, which resulted from an investigation by the Chicago PWBA office, was entered in federal district court in the Western District of Wisconsin.

(Chao v. Sure-Tite Roofing, Inc., Civil Action No. 01-C-0391S
Chao v. Robert L. Starkmann in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Case No. 01-11623-7 Chapter 7)

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
February 14, 2002
Release Number