Felons near top of Orange County pension bloat

John Seiler:

People think of Orange County as a staid place where people make sure government is stingy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Actually, according to an incisive Orange County Register investigation:

The percentage of Orange County retirees receiving $100,000 or more is nearly three times the proportion in the statewide California Public Employees Retirement System.

The information came out only after a lawsuit by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, and supported by the Register, forced the county retirement system to release the data. Three cheers for investigative reporters Tony Saavedra and Ron Campbell, and for Orange County Superior Court Judge Luis Rodriguez.

It’s also clear that the county didn’t learn a thing from its 1994 bankruptcy. Indeed, the county Treasurer/Tax Collector who made the roulette-wheel investments that led to the bankruptcy, Bob Citron, is one of the top pension golddiggers. Even though Citron was convicted of a felony for his shenanigans. The Register:

While Citron took no money for himself, he was convicted of skimming $89 million in interest from schools and other agencies, putting the money on the county books to hide his risky investments. Citron received $12,360 in pension benefits in May, for a projected $148,327 annually.

Another felon, disgraced ex-Sheriff Mike Carona, also gets a golddigger pension:

Among the top 10 highest paid retirees is convicted ex-Sheriff Michael S. Carona, who in May received $18,121, putting him on track to collect at least $217,457 annually. Carona resigned in 2008 after being indicted on federal corruption charges. He was convicted of one charge of witness tampering and sentenced to 5.5 years in federal prison. He is free on appeal.

It’s also worth pointing out that Carona presided over a brutal county jail in which one inmate was murdered and others tortured, and other abuses outside the jail, leading to massive lawsuits against the county. The Register:

Former Assistant Sheriff Dennis LaDucer was fired in 1997 amid allegations that he sexually harassed and groped female sheriff’s employees. The county paid more than $1 million to settle five harassment lawsuits against him, according to a 1999 report in the Los Angeles Times. As one of the top retirees, LaDucer got $10,251 in May, for a projected annual $123,012.

Another former assistant sheriff, Charles Walters, was in charge of the jails in October 2006 when inmate John D. Chamberlain was killed while a guard watched television. Walters is the third highest paid pensioner, collecting $19,332 in May, for an annual rate of at least $231,990. Grand jury testimony revealed that, under Walters, deputies at Theo Lacy jail enlisted inmates as enforcers, slept at their posts and failed to make their rounds. Walters was never accused of any wrongdoing.

If it was just these government felons and thugs’ own retirement investment funds, few would care. But if these pensions don’t have enough money because of bad investments — something that’s happening now across the state — then taxpayers have to cough up the difference.

This shows why taxpayers should be let off the hook. If there’s not enough money in the strained pensions funds, then cut the payouts.

Why should taxpayers get hit — again! — to pay for the lifestyles of the rich and felonious government retirees?

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