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Siedle: NY AG Subpoenas TIAA, Kilmartin Once Again Hits Snooze Button

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

 

Peter Kilmartin

We could debate forever whether Peter Kilmartin is too lazy or too scared to do the important work of Rhode Island Attorney General.

One thing is for sure: Kilmartin has passed on every single opportunity that’s come his way to get involved in pension disasters that threaten the retirement security of thousands of Rhode Islanders. Whereas I can hardly imagine a more important issue than protecting workers’ retirement—averting a growing retirement crisis where elders are forced to live out their Golden Years in poverty—Kilmartin has been consistently demonstrated callous disregard of pleas for help.

In September, 2015 when Diane Bucci, Legislative Chair of the Rhode Island Retired Teachers Association wrote to Kilmartin imploring him to investigate the greatest financial crime in the history of the state—half a billion lost in a reckless hedge fund gamble by the state pension—his office responded: “The Office of the Attorney General… has limited investigatory power. Among the areas that the office investigates are consumer complaints and matters related to insurance and public utilities. Our office does not investigate issues involving the solvency of the pension fund.”

Pete, I don’t know how to break this to you but, while the theft of billions from the state pension may impact its solvency, the request was for your office to investigate MASSIVE THEFT, not insolvency.   

If you have general questions regarding the fund’s solvency, contact the pension, said Kilmartin. "If your complaint concerns an allegation of criminal misconduct, you should contact the Rhode Island State Police or your local police department.”

As I wrote at the time, Pete, with all due respect, your office doesn’t have anything more important to do than investigate credible allegations of wrongdoing related to the largest pot of money in Rhode Island—billions in the underfunded pension that thousands of state workers depend upon for their retirement security.

Take a few moments from your efforts to collect winter apparelfight texting while driving and online bullying—all of which are laudable—and investigate a potential billion-plus fraud in your state, I said.

In 2017, when the St. Joseph’s pension fund became insolvent just three years after its parent hospitals were sold to a California company, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio called for an investigation by the Rhode Island State Police and Kilmartin.

Kilmartin swiftly, decisively responded—by doing nothing.

If this politician was paid for performance, he’d be shoeless and penniless.

As Kilmartin said in his statement in 2014 when approving the sale of St. Joseph, “Conducting a hospital conversion review requires the commitment of a substantial amount of resources for the Office of Attorney General. I commend my staff for the time and careful consideration put into this review process.” 

Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that New York’s attorney general has subpoenaed TIAA, the giant insurance company and investment firm which handles retirement accounts for over four million workers—including $700 million of Rhode Island workers’ assets—regarding its sales practices.

Kilmartin’s response—hit the snooze button one more time.

Thankfully, the New York attorney general has taken action which may protect Rhode Islander’s pension assets. In my opinion, Rhode Islanders deserve their own champion.    

Edward Siedle is a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who currently writes for Forbes, and is currently in line to receive the biggest whistleblower award in SEC history. 

 

Related Slideshow: Who Was Responsible for Protecting the St. Joseph Pension Fund?

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Attorney General Peter Kilmartin

The Attorney General has the sole responsibility under RI's Hospital Conversion Act to protect the employees of a healthcare facility during a transaction.

At the time of the agreement in 2014, Kilmartin said, “The transacting parties have worked diligently to provide regulators with the necessary documentation and information throughout this review process to make this decision, a decision I believe is in the best interest of Rhode Island’s healthcare marketplace, the community, the employees, and most importantly, the patients.”

Kilmartin said in his statement, “Conducting a hospital conversion review requires the commitment of a substantial amount of resources for the Office of Attorney General. I commend my staff for the time and careful consideration put into this review process.” 

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Diocese of Providence - Bishop Tobin

The Diocese of Providence has repeatedly refused to respond to questions regarding the bankruptcy of the St. Joseph pension fund.

Bishop Thomas Tobin chaired the Board of Trustees in 2008 during the period in which the hospital merged with Roger Williams Medical Center.

For nearly a decade and under the auspices of the Tobin-led Diocese, contributions to the pension fund were either only a fraction of what was needed or not made at all. 

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Board of St. Joseph Hospital - Prior to Merger

When the hospital was independent, its board was comprised of many of RI's most influential.  Here they are. 

Board of Trustees

Revised: May 2008

Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, D.D.
Chairman & Treasurer

Reverend Monsignor William I. Varsanyi, J.C.D.
Secretary

Mr. John M. Fogarty
President / CEO

Mary L. Burke, R.N.

Mr. Frederick K. Butler

Steven Colagiovanni, M.D.

Karen DelPonte, Esq.

Joseph R. DiStefano, Esq.

Mr. Jeffrey R. Massotti

Joseph P. Mazza, M.D.

Mr. Marshall Raucci, Jr.

Ms. Nancy E. Rogers

Daniel J. Ryan, CPA

Joseph Samartano, Jr., DDS

Ms. D. Faye Sanders

Mr. Matthew J. Smith

Mr. Kevin P. Stiles

Reverend Monsignor Paul D. Theroux, J.C.L.

Honorable Joseph R. Weisberger

Honorary Trustees

Honorable J. Joseph Garrahy

Most Reverend Louis E. Gelineau, D.D.

Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano

Most Reverend Robert E. Mulvee, D.D., J.C.D.

Rita Murphy, R.N.

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Board of St. Joseph Health Services - Post Merger

Three years of actuarial reports provided to GoLocal from court-appointed receiver Stephen Del Sesto show that the board of the orphaned pension fund was provided clear information that the pension fund was insufficiently funded.

The Board never warned retirees and waited until the fund was so deficient that retirees may be forced to take a 40 percent cut to their benefits.

 
 

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