LEXINGTON, Ky. — The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a consent judgment against George Hofmeister, trustee of pension plans sponsored by TPOP LLC, formerly known as Metavation LLC, Fairfield Castings LLC (formerly known as Revstone Castings Fairfield LLC), and Fourslides Inc., requiring Hofmeister to repay $300,000 to the plans. The judgment also bans Hofmeister from being a fiduciary or service provider to employee benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
Consent judgments were previously issued against William Tweardy and Nelson Clemmens, members of the investment committee for the Metavation LLC of Southfield, Michigan, and Fairfield LLC of Fairfield, Iowa, pension plans. More than $12 million has been recovered after investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor resulted in court orders and injunctions against Hofmeister and other fiduciaries.
The lawsuits allege that, among others, Hofmeister, Bernard Tew, investment service provider Bluegrass Investment Management LLC, investment service provider Tew Enterprises LLC, Metavation, Fairfield, Fourslides, Tweardy, and Clemmens improperly used pension funds. Judgments against the remaining defendants are being sought by the department in ongoing litigation.
"The individuals who suffered as a result of Hofmeister's actions were counting on their retirement benefits to be there when they needed them," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security, Phyllis C. Borzi. "This order marks another step in recovering plan assets, but importantly, it keeps Hofmeister away from benefits plans entirely."
Investigators found improper use of plan assets for the purchase and lease of company property, the prohibited purchase of customer notes from affiliated companies, the prohibited transfer of assets in favor of a party-in-interest, the payment of excessive fees to service providers and other violations.
In July 2013, the court issued a preliminary injunction removing Hofmeister, Tew, and Bluegrass from exercising management or control of the pension plans, and appointed Fiduciary Counselors, investment advisors in Washington, D.C, to independently administer the plans.
Metavation, Fairfield, Fourslides, Revstone and their affiliated companies, design and manufacture components used in the transportation and heavy-truck industries. Revstone and its various affiliates, including Metavation and Fairfield, were directed by Hofmeister and owned by the irrevocable trusts of Hofmeister's children.
All of the aforementioned cases were investigated by EBSA's Cincinnati Regional Office. They are being litigated by the department's Cleveland Regional Solicitor's Office. Employers and workers can contact EBSA's Cincinnati office at 859-578-4680 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans.
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Perez v. George Hofmeister, et al. Civil Action File Number 5:12-cv-00250-KKC
Perez v. George Hofmeister, et al. Civil Action File Number 5:13-cv-00156-KKC
Perez v. Robert La Courciere, et al. Civil Action File Number 5:13-cv-00158-KKC