Some Dallas police and fire fighters locked out of their own retirement saving accounts are suing to get their money out.
If a judge lifts the gate on retirement savings withdrawals, city leaders say the pension fund would likely go broke immediately. But the city would still be required to somehow pay everyone's monthly pension benefits.
Joe Dunn spent 38 years with the Dallas Police Department and was trained to deal with hostage situations. Now he says he is the hostage.
"I'm like my other colleagues, I want my money and I feel like it's being held hostage,” Dunn said.
Dunn is not part of this new lawsuit, but he hopes it succeeds because he will immediately be in line to get his money.
"You've done it to us once, if you open it back up we won't give you an opportunity to do it a second time,” Dunn said.
City council member Lee Kleinman says that could have dire consequences.
"If they opened it up it would be everything left in the system trying to drain it out. They don't have the cash to do that,” Kleinman said. “What would that do to folks pension checks? That's a good question, the system is responsible for that monthly benefit, and wants to make sure it's paid.”
The pension fund has requested an immediate $1 billion dollars from the city to save the fund.
"That would raise everyone's taxes, at least double. We can't do that as a council, could go to voters, I seriously doubt that would pass,” Kleinman said.
FOX4 asked the attorney who filed the federal lawsuit about that.
“We believe there are sufficient assets in the fund for these drop accounts,” said attorney David Feldman. “This is money that belonged to these individuals. They have been denied due process to their funds. They are entitled to access.”
Retirees like Joe Dunn certainly agree.
"We aren't asking for favors, just give us what we've earned,” Dunn said.
An open records request showed the pension fund has spent more than $1 million dollars on legal fees since September and more than $4 million over the past two years.