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California agencies gamble on pension bonds to cover debts – and lose

“Some public officials and investment bankers have portrayed pension obligation bonds as a good way to shore up pension funds … But that gamble is not panning out so far for at least five pension obligation bonds issued by California public agencies between 1999 and January, an analysis by The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.”

“In the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased. The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who had passed away. And an aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 of the dead.”

“No video. No audio. No transcripts. The Virginia Supreme Court operates in a total blackout. The Alexandria Gazette Packet exposes the shocking lack of transparency at the commonwealth's top court.”

"The Pioneer Press is publishing an on-going series of articles that examine issues surrounding the financial health of Minnesota s public employee pensions, which cover more than 450,000 current and retired workers and pays out more than $3 billion in benefits each year."

"As part of its ongoing examination of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, The Dallas Morning News investigated the shadowy world of pension fund placement agents -- the middlemen hired by private firms to solicit public capital."

"The article focused on one man, a politically connected Houston investment manager, and how his work as a placement agent served as a hidden link between public fund officials and the private firms that manage -- for significant fees -- the investment of these public dollars."

--IRE members can email extraextra@ire.org to read the full story.

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