Dallas pension board trustees file lawsuit against own board

The legal entanglements in the Dallas Police and Fire Pension system continue.

Pension board trustees filed a lawsuit against their own board Wednesday. The lawsuit shows how even the pension board itself is sharply divided.

More than 4,400 retirees and families depend on the pension fund. But the problem has the potential to affect every Dallas homeowner who may be left to bail it out in the form of higher property taxes.

The four trustees who represent the city of Dallas on the police and fire pension fund are now joining forces with Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Previously, Trustee Scott Griggs said the mayor's lawsuit to freeze certain payments made a run on the bank worse. But after its last meeting, the pension board agreed to start distributing larger payments to some retirees.

To get extra money, the fund has been selling assets at a deep discount. Griggs says those two decisions put the fund at even greater risk of immediate insolvency.

“We need to stop the fire sale of illiquid assets and disbursements of large sums of money for a long enough time so we can implement a solution from either the state or negotiation,” he explained.

Griggs said trustees needed to intervene with the mayor's lawsuit that was already seeking to close the gate on large distributions because the mayor sued as a private citizen.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata calls the latest legal move a major misstep.

"I think it builds mistrust," he said. " think there's going to be a lot of members who feel here the city goes again trying to keep what I earned from me."

A judge has more remedies available now that trustees of the pension board are part of the lawsuit.

The next step is a scheduling conference set for Friday.

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