CalPERS board accused of bullying, deceit, flouting laws

calpers buildingA member of the CalPERS board has gone rogue, using public records laws to get documents from the agency while facing warnings that it is unacceptable for him to criticize staff at board meetings. Ed Mendel has details at

As one of 13 CalPERS board members, J.J. Jelincic presumably has some authority. But last June and July, he filed Public Records Act requests to force CalPERS to give him weekly reports from its federal lobbyists, much like any member of the public.


CalPERS tripled its federal lobbying force last year from one all-purpose firm, the Lussier Group, to three separate lobbying representatives for retirement policy, investment and market regulation, and health care issues.


Jelincic wanted to see what CalPERS was getting for its increased spending. So he asked for the weekly reports from the lobbyists, as specified in their contracts. But the rest of the board had decided monthly reports, also specified in the contracts, are enough, and Jelincic’s informal request was denied.


The unusual Public Records Act requests by a board member helped trigger a CalPERS governance committee discussion last month of “board member behavior” that was clearly aimed at Jelincic.  … In addition to filing the Public Records Act requests, Jelincic was criticized by other board members for “disparaging” staff in public and taking more than his fair share of time at board meetings by asking questions.

Board targets only member who challenges staff

CalPERS’ actions got two much more savage takedowns at Naked Capitalism, a popular niche website dedicated to exposing improper and unethical behavior by large financial institutions and corporations and the government agencies which regulate them. Susan Webber, a 35-year veteran of Wall Street and high finance, writes for the site under the name Yves Smith. Among her allegations:

  • CalPERS board routinely tries to hide basic information about what its doing, apparently at the behest of its staff, which doesn’t like outside scrutiny.
  • CalPERS ignores state laws on taking testimony at its meetings and uses security guards to intimidate individuals who ask difficult or multiple questions.
  • CalPERS is trying to break Jelincic’s will by hassling him. Some specifics from Webber:

[Some video of last month’s] Governance Committee meeting clearly shows that the board, aided and abetted by [fiduciary counsel Robert] Klausner, is in the process of establishing a procedure for implementing trumped-up sanctions against Jelincic, presumably so as to facilitate an opponent unseating him in his next election. But Jelincic’s term isn’t up until 2018, so from their perspective they are stuck with an apostate in their ranks for an uncomfortably long amount of time. Part of their strategy appears to harass him into compliance with the posture the rest of the board, that of ceding authority to staff and conducting board meetings that are largely ceremonial. …


The board ganging up against Jelincic comes straight out of The Peter Principle. One of its corollaries was “hierarchical exfoliation,” in which organizations expel both poor performers and notable outperformers, the latter because they make everyone else look bad. Jelincic, the lone board member willing to do his job, must be tarred and feathered for his crime of showing the rest of the board up. …


[It] is particularly unseemly that the board member who has been the most aggressive in pushing the illegal notion that CalPERS can and should sanction Jelincic over filing Public Records Act requests is Priya Mathur, who has been fined repeatedly for violating state ethics laws.

Jelincic has history as CalPERS maverick

This isn’t the first time Jelincic has tangled with other board members and top CalPERS officials. The Sacramento Bee reported in April on one contretemps, involving limits put on his voting to avoid conflicts of interest because his full-time job is as a CalPERS investment officer.

In 2011, Jelincic was officially reprimanded for alleged sexual harassment of co-workers in CalPERS’ investment office. But he denied the allegations and called the sanctions “politically motivated.”

But Jelincic’s campaign biography and website doesn’t focus on his maverick ways. Instead, they emphasize his history as a union leader, including time as president of the California State Employees Association. Strong union support helped him first win his seat on the CalPERS board in 2009.


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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 9 December, 2015, 08:41

    Like David Crane stated on his website, CalTURDS is a SPECIAL INTEREST/Business interest, it is not a “trustee” for America’s largest pension fund-what it is supposed to be. They engaged in the largest fraud in CA history, SB$)), and it was a total fraud. If you were a private sector entity that lied, manipulated and engaged in fraud that massive you would be in prison for the rest of your life, ask Bernie Madoff.

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 9 December, 2015, 08:42

      They engaged in the largest fraud in CA history, SB400*

      Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 12 December, 2015, 09:24

      CalPERS and Bernie Madoff have nothing in common. Madoff ran a ponzi scheme whereby the premiums were used to pay interest to current investors in his “plan”. He did not invest his client’s funds. He stole them.

      CalPERS invests the contributions of its members in order to earn interest. Fraud has to be in the mind of the perpetrator. The only thing in the mind of CalPERS is to serve its members. The wall street bankers involved in the 2007 recession were the ones who committed the fraud.

      Reply this comment
      • Tough Love
        Tough Love 12 December, 2015, 15:31

        Quoting …”The only thing in the mind of CalPERS is to serve its members. ”

        Baloney, CalPERS (Board-controlled by Union-connected workers/retirees) misleads, distorts, and lies to UNJUSTLY enrich Public Sector workers at the expense of Private Sector Taxpayers ….. witness the OUTRAGEOUS “retroactively applied” pension increases that resulted from SB400.

        Reply this comment
      • Rex the Wonder Dog!
        Rex the Wonder Dog! 12 December, 2015, 22:51

        Fraud has to be in the mind of the perpetrator. The only thing in the mind of CalPERS is to serve its members. The wall street bankers involved in the 2007 recession were the ones who committed the fraud.
        SB400 was straight up, classic fraud. And ALL of the CalTURDS board members who were involved with SB400 should be in prison with Bernie Madoff…they should be Bernie Madoff’s cellmates.

        Reply this comment
        • SeeSaw
          SeeSaw 13 December, 2015, 15:10

          Again, SB400 was state legislatio–not fraud–it was too expensive, and nobody knew that we were going to have a global wide depression caused by wall street.

          The CalPERS board members who were involved in corruption, were taking bribes; they are no longer on the Board, and the briber himself is dead by his own hand–satisfied?

          Reply this comment
          • Rex the Wonder Dog!
            Rex the Wonder Dog! 13 December, 2015, 18:50

            It was FRAUDULENT state legislation, the fraud from CalTURDS, and trust me, all those con men and women at CalTURDS could BE prosecuted for fraud.

          • bob
            bob 12 January, 2016, 20:35

            Desmond has been driven insane working crazy hours to support himself and pay your pension. You should be ashamed, Sawhorse.

        • Donkey
          Donkey 10 January, 2016, 15:41

          Rex, what we have is a bunch of retired fire people and cops on this Calturd board looking to steal all they can at the state level, just like they did at the local level!! 🙂

          Reply this comment
          • NTHEOC
            NTHEOC 10 January, 2016, 17:23

            Still paying that Pension Tax huh Donk!! And yet all the Bitching and Complaining by you, still nothing goes in your favor,lol.

    • Donkey
      Donkey 12 January, 2016, 18:04

      It makes it all the more sweet when all you RAGWUS crooks are swinging from the lamp posts. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  2. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 9 December, 2015, 08:55

    CALpers like the EPA is just another rougue agency that needs to be abolished

    Reply this comment
  3. Ken Churchill
    Ken Churchill 13 December, 2015, 08:07

    This article explains all the ways CalPERS uses accounting gimmicks to underfund its pension plans. These are necessary because there is no way for public agencies to pay for the benefits that have been promised without using them.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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