Click here for a short summary of the issue. Click here for a detailed timeline.
See also the Pension Rights Center website.
Click here for ex-St. Peter's CEO John Matuska's 2011 letter to the IRS.
Click here for ex-St. Peter's VP of HR Bruce Pardo's 2011 letter to the IRS.
Haga clic aqui para verun resumen del problema en español.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Star-Ledger/ "Bamboozled" article

The Star-Ledger/ has published an excellent article on pensions of New Jersey Catholic hospitals, and its title is blunt: Bamboozled: How Catholic Hospitals Get Away With Letting Pensions Go Broke. Karin Price Mueller's Bamboozled series tends to focus on scams, fraud, and avoidance of responsibility to citizens and consumers. The new article, showing Catholic hospitals' attempt to renege on their debt to employees and retirees, fits the pattern.

The article focuses on both St. Peter's plan and that of the now-defunct St. James Hospital of Newark. St. James' pension plan was starved of funds after a "church plan" ruling, then completely abandoned in a series of corporate mergers. The corporate parent(s) told one story (via press release, and probably to their retirees as well) at the time of the mergers about who was responsible for the plan, but now say that story was "incorrect or misleading"—while taking no responsibility for the outcome. St. James' plan will run out of money in the next few months; the plan's facilitator can't find the responsible party, and the Archdiocese of Newark won't return their phone calls.

It's not difficult to see the parallels. St. Peter's has done their best to rewrite the past, with help from their consultants and lawyers (e.g., "We have always been a church plan"), and their rare public statements about the plan are careful not to mention future benefits. Any words coming from St. Peter's or the Archdiocese of Metuchen about the plan should be subject to careful scrutiny.

As the article mentions, the Supreme Court's decision on whether to hear the St. Peter's case and/or others like it is imminent. We expect to have more for you on this very soon.