The following letter, which included a detailed financial statement, was recently mailed to all donors to the legal defense effort to preserve our Annual Benefit Increases (ABI), also known more commonly as COLA or cost of living increases. If you have changed your address since donating, or did not provide one, please notify us soon if you wish a paper copy that includes the financial statement. Write to SavePERACOLA@gmail.com
Save PERA COLA
A Colorado Non-Profit Corporation
IRS 501 (c)(4)
July 31, 2015
To: All of our Save PERA COLA Contributors
From: Gary Justus and Rich Allen
We would like to thank you once again for your generous contributions to the effort to preserve our retirement contracts and the rule of law. While the struggle was ultimately unsuccessful, you can be rightfully proud of your participation.
Included you will find the final statement of Revenues and Expenditures for Save PERA COLA. We have not provided this financial information in the past, as it was strategic information in regards to the lawsuit. PERA attempted to subpoena our records, our “membership”, our contributor list and even our emails regarding the topic. We do not know whether this was simply harassment or the seeking of data for retaliatory purposes or something else. It did not, of course, bear on the legal issues in the case but not knowing their motives we did not wish to assist them. Now that the lawsuit has ended, we are able to fulfill our promise to provide this financial information to our supporters.
In looking at the statement, you will see that the bulk of the expenditures were payments to the law firm we retained. As was expected, they had many more expenses than we paid. They took the case on contingency, expecting to recover additional costs through the award of legal fees. Of the remaining expenditures, there were various filing fees and other expenses for our non-profit status, fund raising costs, and communication costs. As promised there were no salaries or consulting fees paid. This was all volunteer work. Questions or concerns may be addressed to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were, of course, heavily outspent by PERA. In 2010, their expenses for lobbying/legal fees were about $1,000,000 higher than in 2009 or 2011. This was the initial effort on SB1. PERA’s legal expenses in subsequent years are unknown; but, given the number of lawyers that showed up at the various hearings, we can assume they were substantial. And, the amount of PERA staff time associated with the lawsuit is also unknown. This was your money, paid out of the PERA Trust Fund. Finally, substantial expenditures were made by the Attorney General’s office to repudiate its earlier opinion that was favorable to our cause.
While successful, the legal strategy pursued by PERA (“There is no contract.”) undermines the entire concept of a defined benefit plan. PERA could have acknowledged the contract, stipulated that the impairment was substantial and based their defense on the premise that the impairment fulfilled an important public purpose. This really is their political position but it was not their legal position. Now we all have the “no contract decision” which they and we have to live with.
We are not optimistic for the future. Further efforts will have to be political and we urge all of you to stay involved. Thank you for all you did to support Save PERA COLA – your support is greatly appreciated!
3241 S. Josephine Street Denver, CO 80210