Friday, November 19, 2021

Active Ohio Teachers: You need to vote this man off the STRS Board!


Why? Because at the November 18, 2021 STRS Board meeting he supported tabling a motion (made by Dr. Rudy Fichtenbaum and seconded by Wade Steen) to reduce your contribution rate to STRS from 14% to 12% in 2022. The motion also included providing a 2% COLA in 2022, which would have benefited retiring teachers who would not receive a COLA under the current rules. Both provisions would have been in effect for two years (and hopefully improved after 2024). 
Board members who occupy the active teacher seats and who also supported tabling the motion are Dale Price, Carol Correthers and Arthur Lard. Remember this when they are up for reelection
Rob McFee is eligible to run for reelection in spring of 2022. 
Two others (not elected members) who also supported tabling are Claudia Herrington (appointed jointly by the speaker of the house and the senate president) and Scott Hunt (representing the state superintendent of education). You can call or write letters of complaint to those who are responsible for their presence on the STRS Board. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Active teachers: Your help needed to gather signatures from your peers

From Steven Foreman, candidate for an active teacher seat on the STRS Board

November 15, 2021
Looking for educators currently employed in Ohio and paying into STRS to help obtain 30 signatures from a single county in Ohio for me. Please email me at and I will email you the form. thank you in advance!

Message from Steve Foreman (scroll down for his letter to OEA)

Steven Foreman for STRS Board

November 16, 2021
Just a BIG THANK YOU to all who have offered to canvas for signatures for my run to be your next contributing STRS board member! Please take just a moment to read my response to OEA for an interview on November 30th. I do NOT seek nor will I accept an endorsement from them. While it will most likely be a detriment to my campaign, I cannot seek to fix a problem if I join with those who are a part of it.

Letter from Board candidate (for active teacher seat) Steve Foreman to OEA

Monday, November 15, 2021

Edward Siedle: Private Equity’s Mighty Battle Against Public Pension Transparency

Private Equity’s Mighty Battle Against Public Pension Transparency 

By Edward Siedle
November 15, 2021
Private equity firms widely distribute their prospectuses and offering materials to prospective wealthy investors as they trawl globally to raise capital for their costly, high-risk funds. Yet when state and local government pension stakeholders request prospectuses of the funds in which their pensions invest, PE firms claim these very same broadly disseminated documents are “trade secrets” exempt from disclosure under state public records laws. On the one hand, PE risks, fees, and questionable business practices are fully disclosed via prospectus to wealthy investors who can afford to gamble. On the other, government workers in severely underfunded pensions (many of whom have already seen their retirement benefits cut) and taxpayers who are on the hook for any public pension gambling losses, are intentionally kept in the dark. SEC and state securities regulators should demand that every PE investor, including public pension stakeholders, be provided with all material investment information related to these risky investments and end PE secret fleecing of government workers’ pensions.
Read a private equity prospectus, offering memorandum, limited partnership or subscription agreement closely and you’ll quickly learn why these funds resist public scrutiny like vampires run from sunlight.
As I detail in my recent book, How to Steal A lot of Money—Legally, these documents are replete with outrageous, damning disclosures. Most egregious are the disclosures that (1) every investor in these funds may be treated differently, e.g., certain investors will receive fee, transparency and liquidity preferences which will detrimentally impact other investors; and (2) the fund manager may engage in myriad forms of enriching self-dealing which may harm investors.PROMOTED
As problematic as these disclosures should be to any rational investor, wealthy investors often are willing to gamble a limited percentage of their savings in PE funds that promise (and more-often-than not don’t deliver) market-beating returns. Wealthy investors are routinely provided with prospectuses before they invest, as the federal and state securities laws require.  Fund prospectuses contain details on investment objectives, risks, conflicts of interest, strategies, performance, fees, and fund management.
For any given PE fund, hundreds or thousands of prospectuses are distributed to wealthy investors globally, as well as to consultants and advisors to the well-heeled. These investors and intermediaries are not forewarned that “trade secrets” are included in these documents—proprietary business information which the investor may not lawfully discuss or disclose to anyone. To the contrary, PE managers count on wealthy investors and intermediaries discussing and recommending their costly funds to others. That’s a key element in PE marketing schemes. To my knowledge, no wealthy investor or intermediary has ever been sued for simply disclosing the contents of a PE prospectus. There are no true secrets here—just ugly business practices which wealthy investors often choose to overlook.
Public pensions, which are subject to state Freedom of Information or public records laws, are supposed to be the most transparent of institutional investors. The investment of public monies is supposed to be open to public scrutiny and accountability.
Further, unlike wealthy investor discretionary savings, public pension assets secure retirement promises made to middle-income workers. These investors, aka workers, cannot afford to gamble their retirement assets and would never knowingly consent to many of the unsavory features of PE investments disclosed in the prospectuses.
Read the rest of the article here.
Edward Siedle, Pension forensics expert and record-setting whistleblower award winner, is a former SEC attorney, investment banking and securities industry professional, and longtime Forbes writer. He is the nation's leading expert in forensic investigations of money managers and pensions, focusing upon excessive and hidden investment fees and risks, conflicts of interest and wrongdoing. He was named as one of the 40 most influential people in the U.S. pension debate by Institutional Investor Magazine for 2014 and 2015. His preliminary report on his forensic investigation of STRS, The High Cost of Secrecy, was released June 7, 2021.

Dean Dennis and Robin Rayfield to Ohio Legislators: STRS retirees need another seat on the STRS Board

From Dean Dennis and Robin Rayfield

November 15, 2021

Dear Ohio Legislators,
The Ohio Legislature Needs to Adjust the STRS Elected Board Seats.
There are 167,838 active teacher members in STRS and 157,418 retired teacher members in STRS. This breaks down to a ratio of 51.6% active members and 48.4% retired members.
Currently, retired teachers are only permitted to elect 2 elected Board members out of 7 seats. Even if retirees were granted an extra seat, being allowed to elect 3 trustees out of the 7; retirees would still be under-represented, but the parity would be less discriminatory than it is today.
This is the year to make the change because there are two active board seats up for election in the Spring of 2022. This only occurs once every 4 years, see §3307.06(A) . We seek your help in ending this inequity against Ohio's retired teachers.
Please take action by sponsoring, or supporting, legislation that will rectify this inequity before the election that takes place in the spring of 2022.
This letter has the full support of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association, the Ohio STRS Members Only Facebook Group and the STRS Ohio Watchdogs which represent over 45,000 members.
Thank you,
Dean Dennis
Dr. Robin Rayfield
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company