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Chicago Teachers Union failed to pay staff pension payments in 2018 and 2017

In an accidental investigation of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) finances, Substance News has uncovered through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that pension payments to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) for CTU staff were untimely and not paid. Tips from multiple sources in early November 2018, claimed that the CTU did not pay pension payments for staff working at the CTU offices. In early January 2019, the allegations were confirmed by document requests.

Dec. 14, 2018, CTPF letter to CTU.In the pages of emails and information from the CTPF FOIA documents, it was confirmed that the CTU was sent multiple notices and invoices for outstanding Statutory Penalties, Liquidated Damages and Interest Due on Untimely Payroll Records and Pension Contribution Payments for 2018.

On December 14, 2018, the CTU was sent a letter from the CTPF Chief Financial Officer, Alise White that it owed $40,382.94, due immediately for the determination of statutory penalties, including fees, liquidated damages, and interest, on untimely payroll records and pension payment submissions. The letter goes on to state that:

Enclosed is a bill for statutory penalties, liquidated damages, and interest on contributions owed due to Chicago Teachers Union’s untimely submission of payroll records and pension contribution payments to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, as required under Section 17-132 of the Illinois Pension Code. .

Dec. 14, 2018, invoiceThis was not a one-time or one-off incident. The CTU was sent multiple emails demanding payment. In an email sent by CTPF Chief Financial Officer, Alise White to 10 recipients stating:

We have reached out to the individuals that you have listed below multiple times and have not received a response regarding CTU statutory penalties outstanding. As it stands the penalties outstanding are about to go into demand status with our legal department. Please advise.

(Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 3:46 PM)

Dec. 1, 2017, CTPF letter to CTU.Another email showed that CTU was notified and sent an invoice in the previous fiscal year 2017 for the same Bill for Statutory Penalties. On December 1, 2017, the CTU was sent a letter from the CTPF Chief Financial Officer, Alise White that it owed $6,185.87, due immediately for the determination of statutory penalties, including fees, liquidated damages, and interest, on untimely payroll records and pension payment submissions.

The email sent to Jackson Potter, then CTU Chief of Staff, and Jim Gillmeister, then CTU CFO, stated:

Good morning Mr. Potter-

Assessed late fee invoice on untimely contribution was mailed to your office on 12/1/2017. As of date, we have not received a response. We wanted to confirm you received the invoice. An electronic copy is attached for reference.

Thank you,

Accounting Department

Dec. 1, 2017, invoice.(Sent: Thursday, January 4, 2018 10:16 AM)

A few pension trustees, off-the-record for fear of reprisals, confirmed that the CTU eventually paid what was due for the staff pension payments, except in the case of the December 14, 2018, invoice where the current CTU CFO, Kathy Catalano, was requesting a waiver of the fees, liquidated damages, and interest (Sent: Friday, December 21, 2018 11:28 AM)

Substance News sent CTU President Jesse Sharkey an inquiry into this matter with specific questions, but he has yet to provide any statement at the time of the writing of this article.

There are more communications between the CTU and CTPF in the FOIA documents that discussed unrelated pension concerns by CTPF. Substance News will consider these matters in the coming days. Due to privacy concerns, Substance News wants to confirm the status and implications of the other information it has obtained from the CTPF.

[Dr. John Kugler works full time as a CTU Field Representative and pays into the CTPF. He is also the elected Teamsters Local 743 Shop Steward for the field representatives working at the CTU. He can be contacted by email @ kuglerjohn@hotmail.com ]



Comments:

January 10, 2019 at 7:55 AM

By: Kathleen Cleary Powers

Pension

Why would a pension trustee fear reprisals and from whom?

January 11, 2019 at 12:30 PM

By: Susan Hickey, LCSW

if CPS did this....

CTU has been bungling their money for some time and there was a CFO for the past few years that was incompetent but willing to look the other way when asked to do things that were not right. It is interesting that Jackson Potter went back to being a teacher. I don't blame him as he wants to ensure his gets his pension payments done!

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