Monsour Default Thwarts SEIU Attempt to Collect Pension Funds

Article excerpt

The union representing former employees of the now-shuttered Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette has been stymied again trying to collect unpaid pension debts from the former operators of the hospital.

U.S. District Court judge Terrence McVerry Friday stayed a lawsuit filed by the Service Employees International Union against the hospital and former CEO Michael Monsour because Monsour filed for bankruptcy in December. Bankruptcy automatically halts any attempt at collecting debts.

The SEIU filed a lawsuit in federal court in 2007 under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act -- known as ERISA -- to collect more than $67,000 in retirement funds owed the union. Both the medical center and Michael Monsour were named as defendants.

Earlier this week, Westmoreland County Judge Gary Caruso rebuffed another attempt by the union to keep alive another lawsuit filed by the SEIU to collect more than $467,000 in other pension debts when the hospital closed in 2006.

In his bankruptcy petition, Monsour listed assets of $309,000 and liabilities of nearly $1.9 million, according to court documents. About $1.1 million is for unpaid taxes to the federal, state and local governments incurred when he was hospital CEO.

He also is losing his home.

Citizens Bank successfully petitioned bankruptcy court to allow it to proceed with their foreclosure proceedings against Monsour's Hempfield home. He owes the bank $352,000, according to county court records. …