New Court Filing Offers Play by Play Account of Trustees’ Decision Making


On December 1, 2017, an amended complaint in the lawsuit filed by AFM Local 802 members Andy Snitzer and Paul Livant was filed in Federal District Court, Southern District of New York. For those interested in understanding what happened to our pensions, this court filing provides a play by play account, from 2009-2016, of the decision making by our trustees and fund administrator that led to the current state of our pension fund. It tells a story of poor investment decision making, attempts to time the stock market, and payments to multiple investment managers, in millions of dollars, for little return.
This account was sourced from internal meeting minutes and communications within the AFM-EPF obtained through the court-supervised discovery process. Much of this is information that plan participants have until now been denied access to. 
The trustees have made it clear that they don’t agree with MPS’ analysis of the fund, even though virtually all of our information has come directly from the AFM-EPF’s own files. This court filing offers a third view of the AFM-EPF, one that MPS had no hand in.  It also offers an opportunity for plan participants to make up their own mind with important new information. Read and decide for yourself. Click here for the full document.
No one knows whether the lawsuit will succeed in court. Whatever happens there, the plaintiffs have done us all a service by bringing to light important facts concerning our fund.
One area that this court filing sheds new light on concerns the AFM-EPF Communications Committee. In early 2016, the trustees formed a so-called Communication Committee, which includes trustees Ray Hair and Tino Gagliardi. The committee made the decision in March 2017 to post only partial versions of the investment reports to the AFM-EPF website. They also made it policy that any document requested by a plan participant would have to be copied, on paper, at significant expense, rather than sent electronically to the requester.  
According to the court filing, while communicating about plan participant’s access to information to which they are legally entitled, Maureen Kilkelly told Communication Committee members Ray Hair and Tino Gagliardi that “I would love to think of a way to curtail it” even though she recognized “it is efficient and time-saving to send items electronically as opposed to copying, addressing and mailing a hard copy.”  This quote is taken from page 47 end of paragraph 102 of the complaint. Read it here.
As recently as December 9, 2017, plan participants received an email blast from our trustees stating that they “are committed to ensuring that all participants have access to timely and accurate information about the fund and its financial status.” Clearly, the policies set internally by the Communications Committee are in stark contrast to what the trustees have been publicly communicating to plan participants.
Below we set forth two other important examples where the trustee’s statement that they are “committed to ensuring that all participants have access to timely and accurate information” is easily proven to be false.
First, the most recent Form 5500 that is available to plan participants covers the plan year ended March 31, 2016 – information that is now 21 months old. Form 5500 is the legally mandated disclosure document concerning the assets, liabilities, income, and expenses of our plan. The Form 5500 for the plan’s fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, was due on October 31, 2017, but it has not been filed. The AFM- EPF does this by filing for an extension with the IRS. The extension allows them to file their form 5500 as late as January 15 of the following year. In other words, the trustees take the longest allowable time in which to file this important disclosure form. This is not the behavior of an organization seeking to be transparent. With their extensive staff, outside accounting, actuarial and legal resources, there is no reason why our trustees could not have filed the Form 5500 months ago.

And second, because the trustees’ Roadshow Presentation in February 2017 included some questionable facts, MPS sought relevant information from the trustees concerning investment fees, expenses and the finances of our plan. All these requests were denied. The only documents the trustees would disclose are those required under the law and many are heavily redacted. (See our prior article here.)
To sum it up: The trustees are not giving us timely communications and what they provide is difficult to get, expensive and incomplete. And just when the trustees let us know we could be facing cuts to existing benefits, those same trustees decided to curtail participants’ access to information, making it harder for plan participants to figure out what happened.
Read the court case and share your thoughts on our Facebook page here or email us at