Tedisco, hos­pi­tal pen­sion co-chairs re­veal $47 mil­lion in un­der­fund­ing

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sarato­gian staff

GLENVILLE, N.Y. >> Se­na­tor Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) joined with Mary Hartshorne and Robert Bradley, Co-Chairs of the St. Clare’s Pen­sion Re­cov­ery Al­liance to re­lease a newly re­vealed doc­u­ment he has ac­quired that sheds some light on the St. Clare’s Pen­sion Fund fi­asco and to de­mand fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion to get to the bot­tom of what hap­pened to the money.

The 2007 doc­u­ment re­ceived by Tedisco from a source who wishes to re­main anony­mous, says the “St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal de­fined ben­e­fit plan is un­der­funded by $47 mil­lion as of De­cem­ber 31, 2006,” and not the $28 mil­lion orig­i­nally al­lo­cated in the consolidat­ion agree­ment.

The doc­u­ment raises ad­di­tional new ques­tions about what hap­pened to the money ear­marked for the re­tire­ments of more than 1,100 for­mer ded­i­cated health care pro­fes­sion­als of the now closed St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal in Sch­enec­tady.

St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal was closed a decade ago by a re­quire­ment of the state’s Berger Com­mis­sion in its mis­sion to right-size New York’s health care fa­cil­i­ties, and its op­er­a­tions were ab­sorbed by El­lis Medicine.

At the time, the state paid $58.7 mil­lion to cover tran­si­tion costs, in­clud­ing $28 mil­lion to cover the an­tic­i­pated needs of the St. Clare’s Pen­sion Fund.

Un­for­tu­nately, for rea­sons not yet fully iden­ti­fied, that was not enough to cover the fund’s pen­sion costs. Since fed­eral law per­mits a re­li­gious ex­emp­tion, the

St. Clare’s pen­sion fund has no ben­e­fit guar­an­tee in­sur­ance.

This year, with as lit­tle as three weeks’ no­tice, over 1,100 peo­ple, who in some cases worked at St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal for decades, were now faced with the re­al­ity that they will re­ceive di­min­ished or no pen­sion at all.

Tedisco, Hartshorne and Bradley have sent a let­ter and the doc­u­ment to New York State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Leti­tia James, ask­ing that she in­clude in her

on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the dis­so­lu­tion of the Pen­sion Fund an ex­am­i­na­tion of why there was an agree­ment for the state to only pro­vide $28 mil­lion in tax­payer funds to­ward shoring up the St. Clare’s Pen­sion Fund af­ter all par­ties in­volved were made aware that up to $47 mil­lion was needed.

“The ded­i­cated health care pro­fes­sion­als who pro­vided com­pas­sion­ate care at St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal de­serve jus­tice and a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the state to de­ter­mine what hap­pened to the pen­sion they worked so hard for and to help find a way to make them whole,” said Se­na­tor Jim Tedisco.

“This star­tling doc­u­ment in­di­cates that as far back as 2007, there was a warn­ing that the Pen­sion Fund was un­der­funded by $47 mil­lion, yet a year later it only re­ceived $28 mil­lion to shore it up. Did an­other ac­tu­ar­ial eval­u­a­tion take place? Who did the eval­u­a­tion? What were the find­ings of the eval­u­a­tion? Why is there a $19 mil­lion dis­crep­ancy be­tween the 2006 ac­tu­ar­ial anal­y­sis and the $28 mil­lion the state paid to the Pen­sion Fund? It seems re­mark­able that the ap­pli­ca­tion saw a Pen­sion Fund deficit of $47 mil­lion in 2006 but the state only ended up sup­port­ing the Pen­sion Fund deficit with $28 mil­lion in 2008.”

“Many of the St. Clare’s re­tirees are fac­ing an­other Christ­mas and hol­i­day sea­son with­out the re­tire­ment they were liv­ing off of and count­ing on. It’s very hard to cel­e­brate the hol­i­days, when so many re­tirees are in dan­ger of los­ing ev­ery­thing be­cause the re­tire­ment sav­ings they had counted on has ei­ther evap­o­rated or sig­nif­i­cantly di­min­ished.

“Se­na­tor Jim Tedisco has been our strong­est sup­porter all along and we are very grate­ful to him for all his ef­forts and we look for­ward to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral find­ing an­swers to the ques­tions this new doc­u­ment has raised,” said Mary Hartshorne, Co-Chair, St. Clare’s Pen­sion Re­cov­ery Al­liance.

“This doc­u­ment that Se­na­tor Tedisco has ob­tained un­der­scores that some­thing seems to not be on the level about how this whole process went down for the St. Clare’s re­tirees. We hope the At­tor­ney Gen­eral looks into this and it helps shed light on what hap­pened to the Pen­sion Fund, and pro­vide us a way to be­gin to move for­ward to bring jus­tice to our pen­sion­ers,” said Robert Bradley, CoChair, St. Clare’s Pen­sion Re­cov­ery Al­liance.

“It’s an in­jus­tice what has hap­pened to the St. Clare’s Hos­pi­tal Pen­sion­ers. I want to thank Se­na­tor Jim Tedisco for bring­ing this doc­u­ment to light and I hope the At­tor­ney Gen­eral can use this in her on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion about what hap­pened to the Pen­sion Fund so we can bring jus­tice to the pen­sion­ers,” said David Pen­tkowski, an at­tor­ney for the St. Clare’s Pen­sion­ers.

PHOTO PRO­VIDED

Se­na­tor Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) joined with Mary Hartshorne and Robert Bradley, Co-Chairs of the St. Clare’s Pen­sion Re­cov­ery Al­liance on Thurs­day to re­lease a newly re­vealed doc­u­ment that sheds some light on the St. Clare’s Pen­sion Fund fi­asco and to de­mand fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion to get to the bot­tom of what hap­pened to the money.

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