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  • authored by remote viewer
  • published Mon, May 23, 2005

Regulator's Report on UFCW Pension Plan: The Highlights

Regulator's Report on UFCW Pension Plan: Highlights

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has released a report into its examination of the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan. CCWIPP (pronounced "quip") is a large jointly-trusteed, multi-employer pension plan covering more than 150,000 UFCW members in Canada.

Despite assets of $1.2 billion, CCWIPP has a solvency deficiency in excess of $200 million. In January of this year, a 20% reduction in pension accrual rates was implemented by the trustees in an effort to address the ballooning deficit.

Over the past decade CCWIPP's trustees have taken an active part in deciding where to invest CCWIPP's funds. In 2002, concerns raised by members about the trustees' investments prompted the FSCO to examination whether CCWIPP's trustees and administrators were complying with pension legislation.

The FSCO's report, released on May 17, 2005, cites numerous instances of non-compliance with federal pension regulations and CCWIPP's own investment policies. The report also cites conflicts of interest, the absence of due diligence, shoddy record keeping and failure to produce records requested by the FSCO examiners. Specific concerns are noted by FSCO examiners in connection with CCWIPP's investments in hotel properties in the Caribbean, the Toronto hotel that is the subject of our Mondo Condo series and in the real estate holdings of former priest and pedophile Ron Kelly.

Among the highlights of the report:

[*]Non-compliance with Federal Regulations that set limits on pension investments in real estate, single or affilated corporations and in corporations in which trustees have voting rights.
[*]Non-compliance with conflict of interest provisions.
[*]Financial statements and other documents not produced when requested by FSCO examiners.
[*]Significant lack of processes dealing with due diligence, reporting, follow-up for filings and monitoring which lead to the questions about the administrator meeting its fiduciary obligations under [the Ontario Pension Benefits] Act.
[*]Contraventions of the pension plan's own Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures.
[*]Lack of documentation (or no documentation at all) regarding due diligence, investment agreements and appraisals. In some cases, files contained draft documents only.
[*]No established procedures dealing with lending as a percentage of the underlying asset. In some cases, the amount of financing loaned by CCWIPP, when combined with prior encumbrances, exceeded 100% of the value of the properties.
[*]No documentation related to parties involved in certain investments. No documentation to indicate that related party issues or any potential conflicts of interest have been identified or addressed.

The report identifies the following as "the most serious issues" that need to be addressed by CCWIPP.

[*]Investments which appear to contravene the quantitative investment limits as set out in the Federal Regulation must to be reviewed and brought into compliance.
[*]The Board of Trustees is to establish policies and procedures to ensure monitoring of the investments for legislative compliance.
[*]The Board of Trustees is to address plan governance findings especially the due diligence processes for the investments overseen by the lnvestment Committee.
[*]An explanation is to be provided to the FSCO about the relationship of CCWlPP with Willam Polley, Peter Martini and John Irvine.
[*]Copies of financial statements of PRK Holdings Ltd. and RHK are to be provided to the FSCO.
[*]The Board of Trustees must complete and adopt [a] policy dealing with conflicts of interest and address the potential conflicts.
[*]The Board must address the due diligence deficiencies which have been identified in the examination report for the current investments overseen by the lnvestment Committee.
[*]The Board must establish processes to ensure that the provisions of the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures are adhered to.
[*]The Board is to undertake a complete independent due diligence review of the Caribbean Developments.

Statements in the report indicate that the FSCO's examination of CCWIPP is not yet completed.

Next Steps
The new submissions are being reviewed by FSCO to determine if the matters identified in this report have been or are being addressed and whether all compliance issues have been resolved.

Concurrently, FSCO will take steps to determine whether the activities surrounding the investment of certain of the real estate assets warrant further action under the Act.

We're going to keep you posted. Check back soon for further developments and your own copy of the report!

MFD's Investigation of CCWIPP:

Full Disclosure: Part 1
Full Disclosure: Part 2

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, May 23, 2005 3:27pm

quote:


Despite assets of $1.2 billion, CCWIPP has a solvency deficiency in excess of $200 million.


I believe the assets are overstated. The FSCO and the CCWIPP actuary both rely on the CCWIPP financials to arrive at how much the CCWIPP's assets are worth. Those financial statements are unreliable.

Purely Supreme Foods is on the books for about $35 million, and the worth of the Bahamas properties are way overstated. Ron Bryden's loans totalling $35 million were still listed as assets when in fact there wasn't a hope in hell of ever getting a penny back. MGI Meat Packers had $5 million listed on the books as an asset despite the fact that it was long gone and had assets of only $650 thousand. AFM shares are worthless and Case Financial is a dead dog.

In effect, no one can tell exactly how much the CCWIPP's assets are worth without a complete audit and a totally independent evaluation of all real estate holdings.

  • posted by brotherwolf2
  • Mon, May 23, 2005 7:43pm

A reliable pension plan is the only tangible thing unions have left to offer the un-organized. Screw that up guys and the labour movement will die very, very quickly and will never recover. Other union leaders are fools to think this wouldn't reflect on them. Remember the saying "it only takes one bad apple to spoil the batch." Ken G. has to be removed from office at the CLC for his complete lack of effort or interest in this. If he isn't going to safeguard the movement from this sort of thing by using his office to force the UFCW to clean this up and punish those involved/responcible what good is he? what good is the CLC for that matter?

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, May 23, 2005 8:09pm

It's time the brain trust started to answer some questions. They brag that they are guided in all their decisions by investment professionals.

Maybe it's gettin' to be time for a class action suit.

quote:


Members of Board of Trustees
Pursuant to Section 8(l)(e) of the Act, CCWlPP is administered by a Board of Trustees
comprised of Employer and Union representatives. The members of the Board of
Trustees are as follows:
Employer Representatives:
Gordy K. Cannady
Canada Safeway Limited
Lucy Paglione
George Weston Limited
Tom Zakrzewski
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Company of Canada Limited
Alain Picard
Metro Richelieu Inc.
UFCW Representatives:
Bernard Christophe
UFCW Local 832
Michael Fraser
UFCW International Union
Wayne Hanley
UFCW Local 175
Clifford Evans
Former Canadian Director UFCW
Antonio Filato
UFCW Local 500R


  • posted by The Third Element
  • Mon, May 23, 2005 9:59pm

I am rereading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail `72 by Hunter S. Thompson, so I keep getting quotes into my head about it.

There's a Chapter about the ..withering of expectations and the loss of hope and the what happens to people, it's titled The Million Pound Shithammer.

Do you think they can hear it coming?

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 6:05am

This will be very interesting. I've long wondered why the differences in pension protections were so much better in the US. Under ERISA, you can see the criteria and legal obligations are at least on paper pretty definitive.

The bullet points of standards are broad, and as read them, i marveled at how many times the CCWIPP trustees would have had their asses handed to them in the United States. Worse than all of that is the question of the prohibitive transactions.

There have been stories on this website suggesting that trustees or others have directly benefitted from loans, investments and a number of other transactions. That is against the law here; and one can only hope the same applies in Canada.

There is nothing more shameful than guys who have been grossly overpaid sucking off the assets of workers pensions. Brw2 is right, benefit plans have been the biggest difference between union and non-union workers. If the boys have been dirty and this plan is as bad as it might be, they will have done irreparable harm.

One can only hope the FSCO is aggressively digging and prosecuting if there is proof as to what these guys did.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 7:29am

The FSCO is doing the minimal. The review was limited and so was the depth of their enquiries. The FSCO had to be pushed to go this far. If they think the pushing is over, they have another thought comming.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 10:26am

So let me ask the obvious of weiser, remote, hugh or siggy; is there proof that one or more of the trustees have benefitted from any of these dirty transactions? They are called finders fees or other such nice sounding names but are nothing more than skimming (theft). If they have, is that against the law in Canada and are there repercussions?

Seems to me if there are, they should be both from a civil standpoint and a criminal one as well. If there is foundation, what about a class action suit against the trust and the trustees?

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 10:52am

I'm just learning - from what I've gather'd and someone correct me where I'm wrong - but the FSCO act doesn't differ much from the ERISA. fsco doesn't prosecute directly but it does however seem to have the mandate and obligation to set those wheels in motion.

I don't think there's any question - the report clearly sets out violations of the act. Clearly sets out fiduciary obligations under the act - one plus one equals two doesn' it?

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 12:08pm

BP: There is a sworn affidavit related to a court case with I.F. Propco (Ontario) 10 Ltd. that states that Cliff Evans was a bit pissed that he was given part ownership in three houses rather than full ownership of one house in a deal whereby the CCWIPP was to lend a developer $1 million for a housing project.

Case Financial, (huge fiasco) got a $2 million loan from the CCWIPP and 10% of that got paid to two dudes as a finders fee. One dude from California got 33% and the dude from Ontario got 66%. An equal partnership would have been 50/50 unless there were three partners then each one would have pocketed 33.3% each. The Ontario dude who got two thirds also says he owns Andora Holdings--a Bahamian registered company formerly represented by one of the CCWIPP's Bahamian lawyers. The same dude jumped on Case's board with Cliff when it became obvious that Case was going down the tube.

What was the finders fee all about? We'd like to know too. Case Financial is just another name for a company that the CCWIPP has dumped tons of dough into over the years. There was no intrduction needed. CCWIPP was already part owner of the damned company.

siGGy: Oh if the FSCO wanted to it has plenty of powers to prosecute. It could also order a full audit. It could call in the other pension jurisdictions, the CRA and the RCMP to participate if it wanted. In fact the supervisor in charge of the CCWIPP file originally promised to do just that. However, he was immediately removed from the file by higher-ups and the official response was that he used the wrong terminology. We know that's a bullshit excuse. These guys are very careful in choosing the words that they use. The Supervisor is a very careful man and he knows the ropes.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 5:17pm

Now apparently the buggers are claiming that a computer with plan member information was stolen from the CCWIPP's Winnipeg office.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, May 24, 2005 6:06pm

quote:


Now apparently the buggers are claiming that a computer with plan member information was stolen from the CCWIPP's Winnipeg office.




Can't wait to hear the police report.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Wed, May 25, 2005 6:44am

quote:


BP: There is a sworn affidavit related to a court case with I.F. Propco (Ontario) 10 Ltd. that states that Cliff Evans was a bit pissed that he was given part ownership in three houses rather than full ownership of one house in a deal whereby the CCWIPP was to lend a developer $1 million for a housing project.


Was this house deal to go to the union? or to Cliff specifically? In the US this is a prohibitive transaction and would be illegal...and enough to land him some jail time. The law is clear, trustees can't take anything in exchange for doing business with a company.

As i have read these threads over the last several years, it has amazed me. We ran sessions for trustees at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (where Cliff was on the Canadian board btw) called Situational Ethics. We hammered participants with the legal and moral implications of violating ERISA and specifically the prohibitive transaction section.

I'll just conclude with this thought; if any of the boys have benefitted personally from these deals, they belong in prison. The positions they held paid them very nicely, and the idea they had to steal from members pensions to further pad their pockets disgusts me.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, May 25, 2005 8:57am

What's really creepy is that all too many of the people on IFEB's Canadian board are or were involved in CCWIPP-associated fiascos.

McConnel, Tanaka, Evans, Harvey, Ahee .....

What's even crappier is that the Painters pension plan and the Asbestos Workers pension plan have money in the Bahamas fiasco too. Their members probably don't have a clue.

quote:


1328434 Ontario Limited
As mentioned previously this company was formed on December 3, 1998 by CCWlPP and two other pension plans (Asbestos Workers and Painters) to advance funds to the Bahamian subsidiaries of RHK, namely British Colonial Development Company Limited, Ocean Bay Properties I Limited, Ocean Bay Properties II Limited and South Ocean Development Company Limited. At the time of the restructure the outstanding balance was $21,476,123 (US) which included principal and interest.


Ask David Harvey why the Painters and Asbestos Workers decided that the investment was such a good deal.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Wed, May 25, 2005 10:01am

A bunch of the boys got all excited when they saw Madalloni buy the Diplomat in Florida. It looked (and was if the properties were right) like a sound investment for a small (underline small) part of the funds portfolio to be in real estate. Unfortunately most of the guys couldn't spell due diligence let alone incorporate it into their investment strategies. They saw the glitz of hanging with high rollers and got caught up in it.

I am curious, is it not against the law in Canada for trustees to accept gifts (bribes) or whatever you want to call them? I'm not surprised others have been taken in, the boys all play follow the leader. Cliff was like a god, and so selling them a bill of goods was easy.

It may be fun if this thing heats up and the boys who got burned will come out screaming about how they were enticed in. Once members get angry enough, the "braintrusts" will be looking for scapegoats. Where better to start than the guy who got them hooked up with this crook initially.

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, May 25, 2005 10:29am

quote:


the boys all play follow the leader.


Reason enough to put every fund controlled by *the boys* under suspicion.


  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, May 25, 2005 3:35pm

I say reason enough for an audit:

quote:


Propco No. 3 Original Value: $3, 075,000
Current Value: Approx. $450,000.

Summary
In October1989, Propco 3 purchased 61.5 acres of undeveloped land in the Town of Newcastle. The purchase price of the property was $3,075,000 or approximately $50,000 per acre.

Concerns
* Lack of full due diligence on file.
* Proposal to purchase property provided by Pensites, a new company.
* Five months after purchasing the property, Pensites revealed that the company's philosophy was to purchase land for a quick profit or purchase property for development. Pensites' 15% share originally cost $8,536 which was purchased by Propco 3 for $965,000 and Pensites, in turn, invested $500,000 into another joint venture in Liftlock Golf and Country Club.
* Solicitors letter dated October 24, 1989 indicated that Propco 3 had a marketable title. The position of the charge was not stated. (ie. first or second).
* Registration number for the charge was hand written rather than stamped.
* A report dated October 5, 1989 stated that since land market was volatile, a full appraisal be obtained.
* Lack of evidence of a formal participation agreement with parties involved in the transaction.
* In a letter dated July 31, 2002 from Canadian Waste Services, the company indicated its intent to develop a Transfer Station that would receive 150 trucks daily and process 800 tonnes per day of non-hazardous wastes.
* See additional concerns with regards to overdue property taxes under Internal Control, Property Taxes. CCWlPP provided information on February 24, 2005 that confirmed the purchase price of $965,000. As well, CCWlPP confirmed that $51 5,000 ($500,000 principal and $15,000 in interest) was applied to the industry fund in connection with the Liftlock Golf Course project.


  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, May 26, 2005 7:50am

Now the CCWIPP claims that its compter has been stolen:

quote:


Jason Bell
CanWest News Service
May 26, 2005

WINNIPEG -- The personal information of possibly hundreds of thousands of Canadians has gone missing after a Winnipeg firm was broken into.
Computer equipment that contained information such as clients' names, social insurance numbers, birthdates and rates of pay were stolen from PBAS Group of Companies, which administers benefit plans for organizations across Canada.

Police spokesman Sgt. Kelly Dennison yesterday said a hard drive was stolen with "hundreds of thousands of names on it," and that the equipment may have been targeted as part of an identity-theft scheme.

Identity theft occurs when a criminal uses an individual's personal information, such as credit card numbers, SIN numbers, bank PIN numbers and other confidential financial information, to empty bank accounts, borrow money and make major purchases.

Detectives are investigating, but to date there have been no arrests.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada.


  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, May 26, 2005 3:34pm

I love the CCWIPP's privacy policy too:

quote:


PRIVACY POLICY

The Board of Trustees of the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan ('CCWIPP') is dedicated to the protection and privacy of its members' personal information. In recognition of privacy legislation, the Board of Trustees of the CCWIPP has developed a Privacy Policy to ensure that all personal information is handled in a secure manner. This Privacy Policy will be strictly applied to the collection, use, storage, and disclosure, of personal information used for the operation of the CCWIPP.


It's about as good as their conflict of interest policy.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, May 26, 2005 4:12pm

What are the idiots doing storing the personal information of hundreds of thousands of people on somebody's hard drive in Winnipeg? I thought their headquarters was in Cambellville Ontario or maybe at UFCW Canada headquarters in Rexdale? Sophisticated responsible organizations with a lot of confidential data to protect usually store it on secure servers don't they?

Sounds like a cheap diversionary tactic to me. If it's real, the CCWIPP boys are a bigger bunch of inept irresponsible knobs than even I imagined.

  • posted by sleK
  • Thu, May 26, 2005 4:20pm

I've just learned that the CCWIPP site is down now too. It's likely just a network problem but the coincidence was too cool not to post.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, May 26, 2005 6:24pm

They probably had the web site and databases on a desktop with a dial-up modem.

What's really lame is that it took almost three weeks for the buggers to notify the plan members of the theft of their information.

I guess they knew that they were in shit, so they had to go-a-shoppin' fer a "not-Bill-Reno" PR guru.

  • posted by Richard
  • Fri, May 27, 2005 9:47am

I don't know what's up, but I smell a lot of poopy drawers around here. Lots of whispered phone calls and closed doors. From what I hear, Safeway and Loblaws aren't happy with all the CCWIPP and PBAS crap that's flying around.

Keep up the good work.

  • posted by Aware
  • Fri, May 27, 2005 12:28pm

How very convenient this computer has been "stolen". This whole situation stinks. I tried phoning the Winnipeg office a few days ago and they no longer accept calls from non members. It seems they are now bound by legislation which was introduced back in 2004. Funny, they had no problem taking calls a month ago. Must be taking lots of heat from inquiring minds who know this stinks.

It makes me wonder. I'm no longer employed by an employer member and want to terminate my participation in the plan. I want my share out before there is nothing left. How many part time employees have quit their jobs and left money in the plan? I bet lots. I never received any notification from the administrator informing me of my options upon my termination and it's been a long time. I think they hope these employees will forget or simply not know enough that they have a legal right to transfer their contributions into their own plan. Maybe they're hoping this will help keep the plan solvent if over half of the contributors never collect what they have coming. Very convenient that plan members will disappear with this convenient computer "theft". I wonder how much of an effort will be made to recover these names. In my opinion, NONE.

In a few years, they'll have what they want, rid of a whole bunch of liabilities and the ability to engage in more shady self dealing. Lots of luck to those of you left.

  • posted by blasdell
  • Fri, May 27, 2005 8:04pm

minimum wage contracts, no SAFE pension, union wont enforce the contract.....and they wonder why union membership is down???

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, May 29, 2005 7:43am

I used to be surprised when the CCWIPP Web site went offline whenever some controversy arose, but now it just seems to be the standard M.O.

You'll all remember the MGI Meatpackers. The CCWIPP pumped about $5 million into the operation--even though it only had assets of a little over 10% of that amount. When it went bankrupt, pffft! the $5 million was long gone.

Now we have Purely Supreme Foods:

quote:


Purely Supreme Foods Propco No. 42
Summary

On October 1, 1997 the Investment Committee approved investing funds into Purely Supreme Foods (PSF). The company was to provide consumers with fresh potatoes that were pre packaged, never frozen and could be served within minutes. Ultimately, the Investment Committee approved funding to date of approximately $40M Cdn. dollars. The December 31, 2003 unaudited financial statement for Propco 42 indicated assets of approximately $6.5M Cdn.


Would a bank loan you $250 thousand to buy a $25 thousand car? I don't think so.

Why would PSF's financial statements be "unaudited?" Why would the FSCO rely on unaudited anything? The CCWIPP says it has assets of $1.2 billion, and the FSCO repeats that amount as if it were fact. In reality, the FSCO doesn't have a clue how much money has been lost or how much the CCWIPP is really worth.

And who are the CCWIPP's partners? Hey, none other than Cliff's pal Father Ron Kelly and Bill Polley--the former BDO Dunwoody official. And who be BDO? They be the accounting dudes who say that the CCWIPP's books be okay.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Mon, May 30, 2005 2:54pm

You read this crap and you just shake your head in amazement. How do people get where they are and still be so dumb?

Here's a cut from a local newspaper on the pension woes in San Diego and their police department:

quote:


The nation's seventh-largest city dubbed "America's Finest City" on its government Web site has fallen on hard times.

Its unfunded pension liability the gap between the value of its pension assets and its obligation to retirees has swelled to $1.37 billion after decisions were made in recent years to sidestep payments to the fund and still enhance benefits.


The full story can be found here and was written by AP writer Elliot Spagat.

Can you imagine, cutting payments and enhancing benefits? Braindead is the only thing i can think of.

In the case of father Ron and the boys you have to begin to question...was there more going on than bad decisions? Were there trustees and others with their hands in the cookie jar? If so, when do you think Joe Hansen and company will speak out against it? After all, this is the members money, not theirs.

  • posted by Aware
  • Mon, May 30, 2005 7:19pm

So I receive a letter in the mail today from CCWIPP outlining my options because I have terminated my employment with an employer in the plan. I can transfer my accrued benefits into my own plan or I can leave the money in CCWIPP and collect a pension when I retire. Here's what gets me.

The fund currently has a "SOLVENCY DEFICIENCY" and as a result, I can only transfer 61% of my accrued pension amount. In FIVE years, I will receive the remaining amount. If I had a lot of money and a lot years riding on this plan, I would be VERY WORRIED. In my eyes, that means the funds over the next five years are only expected to earn enough to cover the solvency deficiency (39%), let alone grow to provide the promised benefits. That leaves a lot of people who are going to be sorely disappointed when they've put in their 30 years, grinding it out at a job they can't stand just so they can collect their promised pension.

Needless to say, I'll take whatever they can offer now. Pretty sad when you think that over the last 2 years the markets have delivered some pretty good returns while CWIPP hasn't.

  • posted by Freedom of Expression
  • Mon, May 30, 2005 8:10pm

I just found the following report that says Ottawa is exploring the idea of a guaranteed pension fund for companies/pension plans that go bankrupt - not good news in my books. Please note, I do not know where the report came from. I would have preferred to link you to the site where it originated but I could not find it. I found a copy of the article at StockHouse Canada.

Ottawa explores pension backstop fund

OTTAWA and TORONTO -- Ottawa is floating the idea of creating a federal pension guarantee fund to plug shortfalls in the defined benefit retirement plans of companies that go bankrupt.

Such guarantees are a hot topic right now because defined benefit pension plans are having a tough time amid choppy equity markets and low interest rates.

The Department of Finance raised the idea yesterday in a consultation paper that asked Canadians whether Ottawa should make changes to the legislation and regulations covering federally regulated defined benefit pension plans.

Finance officials haven't decided whether such a scheme would apply solely to federally registered plans, which account for only 10 per cent of Canadian pension plan assets, or would include provincially registered plans too.

Officials cautioned they are not committing to introducing a pension guarantee fund, only to consulting on ideas such as that.

John Gilfoyle, a senior investment consultant with Watson Wyatt in Vancouver, said the risk that Ottawa would need to avoid is that a federal backstop encourages companies managing defined benefit plans to take bigger chances.

"There's potentially a tendency for an employer to say 'I am going to shoot the craps and go to Vegas on this and take much higher risks because there's always a stopgap that, if push comes to shove, the government will pick up the tab," he said.

Other countries such as the United States have a pension benefit guarantee fund, but Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada with one, Finance said.

Other ideas that Ottawa is exploring include giving companies more time to cover deficits in plans. "What types of conditions or rules should be required if greater funding flexibility is given to plan sponsors, to ensure that the risk to benefit security is minimized?"

The defined benefit backstop issue arises in part because payments to steel workers at Algoma Steel Inc. and Ivaco Inc. threatened to wipe out the Ontario Pension Benefit Guarantee fund. The Ontario government had to bail out the fund last year with a loan of more than $300-million.

The fund will be on the hook for more than $1.3-billion if Stelco's restructuring talks fail and the firm has to wind up its pension funds.

Bankruptcies in the U.S. steel and airline industries throughout this decade and the 1990s left the U.S. federal pension insurance agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., saddled with a deficit of more than $23-billion (U.S.).

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Jun 1, 2005 7:58pm

This is too funny! UFCW Local 401 boasts about the CCWIPP, but all the links to CCWIPP are dead, dead, dead.

They give a list of people who "enjoy" CCWIPP benefits. I wonder if they've asked any of them how much they "enjoy" CWIPP lately?

  • posted by Richard
  • Thu, Jun 2, 2005 6:54am

What the hell are the supposed regulators doing about this crap? This is an atrocity and everyone knows it. The reps have lots of pensions, but the members only have the CCWIPP. They are outraged, but they think that the FSCO is actually going to do something.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Jun 2, 2005 8:05am

Look who was helping to make the Canadian experience a memorable one in Las Vegas. Cliff was on the Canadian board of IFEB and his pal Joan Tanaka is on the Board too. Not only that but she's the IFEB's expert on plan governance. It seems a bit prophetic that Joan was the moderator for the Crisis Communication session. I wonder if the crisis plan was to immediately shut down the CCWIPP site. The rest of the communications with plan members is pretty stinky too. Who the hell planned that part?

quote:


Clifford R. Evans, Labour Trustee, UFCW, Campbellville, Ontario

Joan S. Tanaka, President, Prudent Benefits Administration Services Inc., Rexdale, Ontario

19. Crisis Communication for Benefit Plans
(repeated at 3:30-4:30 p.m.)
• What type of crisis could hit a benefit or pension plan?
• How to prepare your communications response
• Some crucial elements of a crisis communications plan
Moderator: Joan S. Tanaka
Speaker: Sandra L. Thornton, BGS, APR

Governance
■ Defining good governance
■ Governance principles
■ Regulatory models
Instructor: Joan S. Tanaka
11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon


  • posted by BillPearson
  • Thu, Jun 2, 2005 10:06am

Ya gotta love it: I was the chairman of the trustees committee for the IFEBP (US version) and as such, i had a spot on the decision making for conference sessions. One of my favorite teaching tools was to recommend actual case studies as primers for what to or not to do. Some folks got squeemish when we used real examples, but what better way to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly.

Seems to me the CCWIPP would be the classic case for showing both new and old trustees how not to act. Sadly, the politics of the IFEBP is one of the things that kept them from being all they could be.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Jun 2, 2005 11:06am

The CCWIPP E-Z Loans Department cannot be displayed

The pension trustees you are looking for are currently unavailable. They might be experiencing some regulatory difficulties, or they may need to adjust their stories.

Please try the following:

• Click the Resubmit E-Z Money Application button, or try again later.

• If you typed the page address in the Address bar, make sure that it is spelled correctly (www.ezmoney4me.ccwipp.org).

• To check your connection settings, click the Cliff menu, and then click Connections. On the Connections tab, click Deadbeat. The settings should match those provided by Father Ron Kelly or AFM Hospitality Corporation.

• If your Cliff Connection has enabled it, Propco Holdings can examine our network and automatically discover fast cash connection settings.

If you would like Propco to try and discover them, click Detect Easy Money Now.

• Some pension plan lenders require collateral. Not us. Click the Help menu and then click No Money Down and then No Credit Check and then No Security to determine how much you can soak the pension plan.

• If you are a regulator trying to write an amateur report, make sure your Security settings can hide it. Click the Tools menu, and then click Cover Up. On the Advanced tab, scroll to the Secrecy section and check settings for weasel words.

• Click the Barf button to find another sucker.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Jun 2, 2005 12:18pm

quote:


Needless to say, I'll take whatever they can offer now. Pretty sad when you think that over the last 2 years the markets have delivered some pretty good returns while CWIPP hasn't.


I'm sorry but - if there's evidence of possible crime - shouldn't it be reported to the proper authorities?

If someone stole my car I'd report it to the police if someone stole anything I'd report it to the police - the police have a sworn duty to protect the public against crime don't they?

Why is FSCO dragging it's feet?

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Jun 2, 2005 1:41pm

What a joke. In its report, the FSCO says:

quote:


The purpose of the examination was to assess compliance of the CCWlPP with the Act and the Regulation. The examination consisted of a limited review of certain real estate investments and investment corporations as identified in Attachment A.


There is no compliance! Wouldn't it have been more accurate to have said that they were ascertaining the the level of non-compliance?

The CCWIPP doesn't even come close to complying with the PBA.

Tons of dough (hundreds of millions of dollars?) has gone missing from the pockets of CCWIPP members. Does the FSCO say it's interested in finding out where the dough went? No! Does the FSCO say that it's going to try and recover some or all of the dough? No! Does the FSCO say it's going to call in experienced investigators? No! Does the FSCO say it's had enough and is going to take control of the CCWIPP until it gets to the bottom of the mess? No!

What exactly does the FSCO plan to do to make things right?

Maybe someone should call Greg Sorbara, the Ontario Minister of Finance or Dalton McGuinty, the Ontario Premier and ask what the f%$#@ they are doing to salvage the pensions of close to 1/4 million Canadians.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Jun 4, 2005 10:29am

Sliding across the CCWIPP's intro page is the following statement:

quote:


Making your hard work pay off


 -

The question is "For Whom?"

You'll notice that the buggers have hidden the identities of the CCWIPP Trustees by killing the link to that page. To help, we'll again post their identies here:

quote:


Mr. G. Cannady
V.P. Human Resources
Canada Safeway Limited
Mr. B. Christophe
Executive Assistant to the President
UFCW Local 832

Mr. C. Evans
Chairman of Investment Committee

Mr. A. Filato
Secretary - Treasurer
UFCW Local 500

Mr. M. Fraser
Canadian Director, UFCW
International V.P.

Mr. W. Hanley
President
UFCW Local 175

Ms. L. Paglione
V.P Pension & Benefits
George Weston Ltd.

Mr. A. Picard
V.P. Human Resources
Metro Richelieu Inc.

Mr. H. Preston
Representing Smaller Participating Employers (Note: Mr. Preston, a former Dominion Stores executive now seems to have left the board.)

Mr. T.A. Zakrzewski
Sr. V.P. Labour Relations
The Great Atlantic &
Pacific Company of
Canada Limited


  • posted by Richard
  • Mon, Jun 6, 2005 9:04am

This is just too funny. Apparently a reporter phoned the CCWIPP office and now the shit has hit the fan.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Jun 6, 2005 9:40am

quote:


Apparently a reporter phoned the CCWIPP office and now the shit has hit the fan.


Pictures - ufcw members want pictures!

  • posted by Richard
  • Mon, Jun 6, 2005 10:01am

 -

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Jun 6, 2005 10:11am

Is that the shit or the fan?

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Jun 6, 2005 10:59am

To me it looks like a CCWIPP official who sees it comin'.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Jun 6, 2005 12:13pm

Ok, that looks right.

  • posted by Richard
  • Tue, Jun 7, 2005 9:42am

I've heard that people are starting to phone the Ontario Pension Regulators and they are simply shooing them away. They don't seem to be too interested in talking to plan members or people with information.

That's f*&$ing bizarre!

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Jun 7, 2005 3:46pm

What a load of crap! In 1999, the Alberta government tagged the CCWIPP as being in trouble. Look at what the Alberta Pension Regulator's official Shauna Holmes had to say about the CCWIPP in the Spring of 1999:

quote:


Investments
Findings

The review of the investments themselves identified the following issues:


2. The value of investments in real estate are questionable based on their illiquidity. The rate of return is calculated in totality for all investments managed by Mr. Kurki. This is misleading in that, once market value adjustments are taken into consideration, it does not show that the real estate portion has very low yields and negative returns. There were no written policies in place regarding investments in real estate….

…Investments in Real Estate should reflect the following:
1. The rate of return for each type of investment should be calculated individually using net income as well as market value adjustments before the rate of return is calculated on the total investment portfolio. This type of disclosure will give the Board information on all aspects of the portfolio.

2. Policies should be established for investment in real estate. The policies should state the types of real estate investments, the maximum investment in each type, limits on single properties, geographic concentration, and rate of return expected.The policy should also address the approval procedures, valuation cycle and due diligence to be conducted.

Policies for investments in mortgages should be established immediately. The policies should clearly specify the types of properties on which monies will be lent, maximum loan to value, maximum size of loan, debt service ratios and exposure to single or related borrowers. The policy should also establish approval and reporting procedures as well as guidelines for dealing with defaults. Loans in default and actions taken to recover these investments should be reported to the Investment Committee monthly and the Board should be updated at each meeting.


It looks like sweet dick-all was done since the Alberta report. When are these regulators going to do something with this sick plan?

What's even weirder is that the Ontario Regulator (FSCO) says that because the 1999 Alberta Report was so complimentary of the CCWIPP there wasn't much need in delving too far into the CCWIPP Administrator's affairs.

What a load of BULLSHIT!

  • posted by Johnny Roberts
  • Tue, Jun 7, 2005 8:03pm

These guys are so "crooked" they can't walk straight! This is "gangsterism", pure and simple.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Jun 7, 2005 9:54pm

quote:


When are these regulators going to do something with this sick plan?


Why do plan participants have to wait? What's stopping any one of them or all of them from marching copy of the fsco findings to the nearest cop shop and reporting the crime?

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Jun 8, 2005 6:43am

What should be happening is that the FSCO should now hold true to Mr. Pringi's pledge to do a full audit, call in the RCMP, other Pension Regulators and the Canada Revenue Agency so that they too can participate in the full audit--and maybe even a full "forensic" audit.

If they don't, I smell class action with the FSCO being a defendant right along side of the CCWIPP boys and girls.

  • posted by Richard
  • Thu, Jun 9, 2005 9:44am

Word around the office is that the FSCO people have been reigned in. Apparently the report thing was all a misunderstanding. The CCWIPP boys used their clout and went over the pension guys' heads.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Jun 9, 2005 8:16pm

The word around the MFD office is that the CCWIPP boys and girls are going to get their asses kicked--big time--real soon.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 3:13am

I think that they are kicking their own asses but not realizing that they're doing it. Quite honestly, I've never heard of such a bunch of arrogant goofs before. The absence of any regulatory oversight for the past two decades combined with a complete lack of accountability to members has created a situation where the CCWIPP/UFCW crew created their own little bubble-world. Inside the bubble-world, they were gods who could do no wrong - because whatever they did was right - because that's how it is when you're a god.

That lack of accountability enable them and their pals to treat their members' billions like their own private stash of cash which could be used for whatever purposes (including giving it to their pals with little expectation of ever being paid back). Now, with the law beating on their doors, they're still arrogant and god-like, unable to believe that the day of reckoning has arrived. They're delusions will hasten their demise. These guys deserve everything that's coming their way.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 6:46am

quote:


These guys deserve everything that's coming their way


While i agree the abuses need be ferreted out, exposed and the scoundrels punished remote, the the folks who will feel the pain the worst will be the participants of the trust funds.

It is scandalous what is happening to benefit plans; how poorly the boys have run them; but there is an even bigger problem emerging on both sides of the border.

In the US the PBGC (the insurance protection backed by the US government for private pensions) will be 71 BILLION dollars in the red over the next ten years. Add to that the woes of employers passing on health care costs or abandoning them all together and you can see an emerging pattern that has to terrify any union member.

The definning difference for unionized workers has been quality health care and retirement plans. With each passing day they are being destroyed and the value of union membership diminishes. Sadly, the actions of some trustees has added fuel to the fire and is in part the reason for their failure.

One only has to look at the United Airlines bankruptcy to see who is paying for those bad decisions. The massive cuts foisted on retired workers from that company is causing hardships and heartache and forcing them back into the job market.

We can only hope the bastards who have made corrupt decisions are forced to pay for their sins. Unfortunately, i sense it will be the members/participants who will pay the price, not the captains of labor and industry who have feasted off of them.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 7:18am

From thestar.com:

quote:


The Liberal government introduced legislation yesterday to make Ontario the fifth province to eliminate mandatory retirement at 65. It will likely become law in the fall of 2006.


It's really tough not to believe there isn't some huge conspiracy - if nothing else but to cover their sorry ass decisions.

Between greed and just fucking stupid - the entire system created to make life some better for working folks is collaspsing around workers. And what do they do - they eat faster!

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 8:12am

Didn't you read the govt's take. Yer now livin' longer, so you'll want to work longer. Yup, that's the way I've always looked at it. I've always hoped that medical science would enable me to live to be 150 so that I could work until I was 147. Then I'd have three years to plan my funeral.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 8:30am

quote:


Didn't you read the govt's take.


I did and labour's lame response to the attack is equally as scary.

It's fairly transparent - the pigs are chewing thru the pension wall and just need a couple more years to escape and labour's ok with that - in fact - it works for them too.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 9:04am

Mandatory retirement is being eliminated in Ontario (and elsewhere) for a number of reasons. Among these is the fact that about 70% of Canadian workers have inadequate or no pensions at all and that the social safety net (such as it is) cannot support all the upcoming retirees and that there is (although no one wants to discuss it) a big labour shortage looming and that some people really do want to be able to work past age 65 and that mandatory retirement is a form of age discrimination that really doesn't make a lot of sense and other reasons I'm sure. Of course, the fact that many pension plans have been mismanaged and, in some cases, outright pillaged, is a consideration too but I don't think that it's the folks who have pensions that are causing the gov to sweat the most. It's what to do with the majority who don't have pensions that's causing them a lot of sleepless nights.

All things considered I'm in favour of the end of a rule that dates back to the selfish interests of Kaiser Wilhelm (He introduced mandatory retirement when his civil servants began clamouring for pensions. He decided on age 65 because that is the age at which, back in the late 1800's, most people were expected to be dead).

But I certainly think that there need to be some safeguards in place. People who want to retire at 65 are still able to do so without any hit on their pensions and without any other penalties. There's going to have to be a whole new mindset towards older workers too. Currently, anyone over the age of 35 or so is considered as big liability by many employers. Too bad, they'll have to cast off their biases if they want to employ people who want to or have to work past 65.

Anyway, back to the ccwipp crew for a moment. I agree with Bill (how's that for something you don't see everyday) that it's likely to be the members who will pay the price of their trustees' gross negligence and reckless investment decisions. That's what makes this whole thing reek even more. The fact is, that they're already paying with the 20% reduction in pension accruals that was implemented in January 2005. And then there's the fact that members who leave the plan and who want to transfer their funds to an RRSP can only get 61% of their money because CCWIPP's solvency ratio is only 61%.

It's truly pathetic and all the more reason that the trustees should be made to pay for their awful negligance and recklessness. The FSCO should take over the plan, rid it of the reckless idiots who have created this mess, prosecute the major culprits and appoint, with the involvement of the members, a new and accountable Board to run the pension plan.

Members should also consider suing - by way of a class action - the trustees, administrators and other helping hands who have made this mess. It would be one way of recovering at least some of what has been pissed away and will stand as a lesson to pension fleecers present and future of what will happen to you if you put your interests and your buddies' ahead of your fiduciary duty to your members.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 9:40am

I'm not saying that mandatory retirement in and of itself isn't discriminatory - however hasn't it worked as benchmark for pension outs as opposed to when a person must leave the workforce. There are plenty of examples where people continue to work after age 65.

How does raising the mandatory retirement age address the discriminatory issue - it simply increases pension reduction penalties by 2 years for those who do want off the wheel.

I think it's a huge corporate attack on social justice aided and abetted by the absence of a legitimate labour movement.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 11:15am

quote:


How does raising the mandatory retirement age address the discriminatory issue - it simply increases pension reduction penalties by 2 years for those who do want off the wheel.


Are we yacking about the same thing? I'm not aware that proposed end of mandatory retirement will raise the age at which people can retire with a full pension (not in Ontario at any rate). I would imagine that most employers would be opposed to this as they will continue to want older workers to retire.

As far as the mainstream labour movement goes, most unions here in Ontario are in favour of mandatory retirement.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Jun 10, 2005 11:19am

quote:


Are we yacking about the same thing? I'm not aware that proposed end of mandatory retirement will raise the age at which people can retire with a full pension (not in Ontario at any rate).


Ok, I jump'd the gun. What mechanisms are in place to prevent the same thing that has happen'd everywhere else where mandatory retirement age was removed and then ultimately replaced? What makes Ontario's new legislation different?

Of course once you erase one number and then have to replace it - there's a veritable borgasmorg of numbers to choose from. In the case of the US - they pick'd 67. Sometimes you have to take two buses to get to your destination.

"Try to get up grandmother - your walmart boss call'd - did you forget you have to work today?"

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Jun 14, 2005 6:34am

And the FSCO with shaking knees and chattering teeth come to the uncomfortable conclusion that

quote:


There also does not appear to have been any steps taken by the Board of Trustees to ensure that the Investment Committee had the prerequisite expertise to invest these pension assets in these investments.


The buggers were too stupid then, but they are now investment wizards?!

FSCO, pull your fingers out of your noses. These people have screwed up -- BIG TIME! They continue to srew up, and the FSCO allows them to.

Not once has the FSCO ascertained how many millions have been drained from the Pension Plan.

FSCO get your asses in to the CCWIPP offices and put an independent administrator in place. NOW!

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Jun 14, 2005 7:59am

Yes, I wonder what it's going to take to get the FSCO to finally act like a regulator instead of a baby sitter to the CCWIPP boys.

Here's something you might want to send to the regulators. It's not often that you catch the CCWIPP crew telling big bold-faced lies in writing, but I think I've done it.

At this link you will find a letter written by Cliff Evans, Grand Poohbah of CCWIPP and Lord and Master of the Investment Committee.

Based on the FSCO's report, I can state with confidence that Cliff lied through his chops when he made the following statements:

quote:


There is no funding problem with respect to CCWIPP on a going concern basis, which is how the pension plan is funded day-to-day.


Of course we know now that that sure as hell wasn't true in 2002 or 2005 or for a long time.

quote:


All decisions pertaining to the investments of the pension funds are made by the Board of Trustees after having completed the proper due diligence process.


Now that's the biggest whopper I've heard in a long time. Of course, the FSCO found that the CCWIPP boys never had a due diligence process in place for their investment decisions and to this day only have a draft policy which they have been "requested" - in 2005 - to implement.

Doesn't lying to the members, in writing, about something as crucial as whether or not there is a due diligence process and whether or not there is a going concern deficiency, get you a boot in the ass and possibly some charges under the relevant legislation? I mean come on. What's it going to take FSCO guys? Do we have to do your work for you 24/7?

  • posted by press
  • Tue, Jun 14, 2005 3:10pm

quote:


posted by remote viewer:
What's it going to take FSCO guys? Do we have to do your work for you 24/7?


Yes, and remember... it's $0.50/copy.

Bastards.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Jun 26, 2005 12:44pm

This is a bump with two purposes. The first is to let our readers know that the CCWIPP report will become available to everyone in the next few days.

Warning: Don't eat anything before viewing it.

The second reason is to let our friends at the FSCO know that not only are CCWIPP members about to come to you (or perhaps the courts) looking for answers, restitution and accountablility, but rest assured that the world is watching.

There ain't enough canvass in Canada to cover their collective asses on this one. Who's more to blame, the FSCO, the Minister of Finance or the Premier of Ontario? Each and every one of them have personal knowledge of what the hell has been going on. They've known for years and done little more than watch the cash drain from the fund.

  • posted by The Third Element
  • Sun, Jun 26, 2005 11:38pm

Bring it on... *this* I want to see.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Jul 7, 2005 10:52am

Hold tight; it's coming soon. In the meantime, think about this:

Are there any similarities between the disaster caused by the grounding of the Exxon Valdes and the mess that the grounding of the good ship CCWIPP?

quote:


How did the accident happen?
The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the accident and determined that the probable causes of the grounding were:

The failure of the third mate to properly maneuver the vessel, possibly due to fatigue and excessive workload;

The failure of the master to provide a proper navigation watch, possibly due to impairment from alcohol;

The failure of Exxon Shipping Company to supervise the master and provide a rested and sufficient crew for the Exxon Valdez;

The failure of the U.S. Coast Guard to provide an effective vessel traffic system.


  • posted by The Third Element
  • Thu, Jul 7, 2005 11:04pm

Is there a copy available anywhere? Online...

  • posted by sleK
  • Fri, Jul 8, 2005 6:35am

quote:


Warning: Don't eat anything before viewing it.


I second that.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Jul 8, 2005 7:49am

quote:


posted by The Third Element:
Is there a copy available anywhere? Online...


Timing is everything. Patience is a virtue. Grab a front row seat. The show is about to begin. You'll have to watch a couple of trailers for upcomming news and then a Juicy Fruit and Swiss Chalet commercial.

The bars in Rexdale had better stock up with booze. There'll be the fat and skinny sloppin' up more than usual.

"Shem basturds! Ish shem MFD bashturds. Hey honey, I'mmmmm, hey babe, heyyyy. Whash wit you? Ish shem MFD bashturds. Ish em that tole you not to fine me sexy. Hey, ya, give me another one --make it a triple. Give my fren a double 'caush he's drivin'."

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