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How much did Kentucky teacher pensions lose in Russian investments? Illinois teacher unions and Michael Madigan.
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Social media went viral with news that the Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky was the second-largest institutional shareholder in Russia’s Sberbank.
It was reported that the pension fund saw its shares fall 95 percent this week as the bank announced it is leaving the European market amid the chaos caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Thursday a Twitter account called Market Sentiment said that TRS held $13 million in Sberbank stock, but that holding was reduced to a mere $778,000 after the crash.
I posted that news on Facebook and Twitter. Thousands of others on social media posted the news too.
Kentucky TRS general counsel Beau Barnes released a statement saying the pension fund sold its Sberbank stock last month and that the losses were overstated.
But can Kentucky TRS members believe Beau Barnes?
Barnes has long argued that pension system members have no right to know what their pensions are invested in or how they are invested.
If you're a public school teacher in Kentucky, the state has a message for you: You have no right to know the details of the investments being made with your retirement savings. That was the crux of the declaration issued by state officials to a high school history teacher when he asked to see the terms of the agreements between the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and the Wall Street firms that are managing the system’s money on behalf of him, his colleagues and thousands of retirees.
In rejecting the request from history teacher Randy Wieck, KTRS general counsel Robert Barnes said the terms of the agreements represent “trade secrets” and that disclosing them would provide “an unfair commercial advantage” to the firms’ competitors.
So the reality is that how much pension investments lost in a Russian bank is not known by the public and Beau Barnes isn’t opening the books any time soon.
By the way, I was told by officials of Illinois’ Teacher Retirement System the same thing.
I was told on numerous occasions that TRS investment information is proprietary.
Even though it our money.
Illinois and Chicago teacher unions in bed with Michael Madigan.
Illinois’ retired Speaker and Democratic Party boss has been indicted on charges related to corruption and Commonwealth Edison.
Not included in the indictment are his attempts at pension theft, teacher union busting and the sexual toxicity in his office.
He’s guilty of all that.
I have reported for years that among the sources of Madigan’s electoral war chest are teacher union political action funds.
As recently as July the Chicago Teachers Union gave a Madigan-controlled political action committee a check for $10,000.
This is just one deposit. The total over time to Madigan from the state’s teacher unions is in the millions of dollars.
Last summer it came out that the Friends of Michael Madigan political action committee had spent nearly a million dollars for lawyers and a settlement resulting from sexual harassment charges by political consultant Alaina Hampton against associates of The Speaker.
Teacher union contributions helped pay those bills.
From a WBEZ story by Tony Arnold regarding the case of Alaina Hampton. Hampton is a political consultant and whistle blower on sexual harassment in the Speaker’s office:
In September 2017, Hampton claims she had talks with the Chicago Teachers Union about working on a campaign for state representative, according to court documents. In October 2017, she was under the impression CTU was ready to offer her a position, but just a week later Hampton was asked by a CTU lobbyist “if she was ‘on the outs’ with Ald. Marty Quinn (a close associate of Madigan) as someone had informed [CTU Political Director] Stacy Davis Gates that such was the case.”
Hampton didn’t hear back from CTU after that conversation, the filing states.