Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keane Demands His Full Pension; Mayor Ordered Change That Cut Payments after Review

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keane Demands His Full Pension; Mayor Ordered Change That Cut Payments after Review

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

John Keane, the retired executive director of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund, is accusing the city of theft and demanding that it fully reinstate the pension he had been receiving before Mayor Lenny Curry ordered a change that cut the payments by 20 percent.

A letter sent this week by Keane's attorney says he is entitled to "treble damages" for the amount of reduction in his pension checks since May.

"If you do not tender these funds within 30 days of your receipt of this correspondence, we will institute any and all appropriate actions against you for theft, including but not limited to, filing suit for civil theft," Keane's attorney Bill Sheppard wrote in the letter hand-delivered Thursday to the pension fund's office.

Curry spokeswoman Marsha Oliver said the matter is under legal review "which does not afford us the opportunity to discuss. Nevertheless, we stand confidently by our position and actions. The mayor's goal in this, and all he does, is to protect taxpayers while following the letter of the law."

The move by Keane did not come as a surprise. He has repeatedly said he earned his pension and held up his end of the bargain by making required contributions to the plan.

Paul Daragjati, an outside attorney for the pension fund, predicted during the board's June meeting that Keane would take legal action. "I'm not saying I know, I just know John Keane - unless he gets hit by lightning" there will be a suit.

Sheppard also delivered letters Thursday on behalf of two others who, along with Keane, had been receiving payments from the pension fund's Senior Staff Voluntary Retirement Plan: Deborah Cohee, the widow of former pension fund Deputy Executive Director Dick Cohee, and Donna Walmsley, a retired pension fund staff member.

Tim Johnson, who recently became the pension fund's executive director, said he would consult with city General Counsel Jason Gabriel about the letters. …

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