Save PERA COLA Issues Final Statement

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

www.SavePERACOLA.com

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 saveperacola@gmail.com.

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

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3 Responses to Save PERA COLA Issues Final Statement

  1. Stan Brown says:

    Some may think the legal fight was quixotic. However, we are no longer under the illusion that our pensions are contractual. PERA use to assuage its members that although their retiree benefits were not directly protected under the state constitution (like most other state plans), the PERA statute governing vested benefits could be considered as a contract which is constitutionally protected. I expect that PERA will no longer offer any assurances as to any clear legal protections of its vested retirement benefits, as it’s now a gratuity subject to public sentiment and legislative whim. The term ‘vested’ has new meaning in Colorado jurisprudence, at least as it relates to public pensions. Nonetheless, I believe Colorado courts will continue to protect private contracts with its full authority under the law.

  2. Randy Storm says:

    Thanks for everything

    • N GALLEGOS says:

      I want to thank the State of Colorado for making it hard for people who gave there all and worked hard all there life for the state, and all we ever asked for was fairness and give us once a year a raise to meet daily living standards, what is really sad is the people who are responsible for the mess they made with Para, are no doubt Living high off the hog living with no worries about putting food on the table paying there light and gas
      having to make a decision between Medication of food
      and which on is more important for the month……….
      I want to thank them X Gov Ritter and X gov Owens
      both of these, are living high off the hog on there Pera retirement or they will be, thanks you guys for making something that was to help people , is now only helping the Rich

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