Detroit Pension Fund Fires Top Lawyer


Detroit’s Police and Fire pension fund fired its general counsel, Joseph Turner, on Thursday.

Reports had surfaced weeks ago that trustees were uncomfortable with having Turner on staff because he was with the fund when it was embroiled in corruption scandals.

Trustees reportedly wanted a clean break from the pension fund’s past mismanagement.

From Detroit News:

The 9-7 vote to fire general counsel Joseph Turner and his law firm, Clark Hill, comes three weeks after The News exclusively reported that some members of the pension fund had lost confidence in Turner. His continued involvement in the pension board raised questions about the city’s ability to move past a history of corruption, mismanagement and bad investments that helped push Detroit into bankruptcy, critics said.

“I respect their decision,” Turner said after the meeting. “I don’t agree with it, but I respect it.”

Clark Hill will continue to represent the pension fund in matters related to the city’s bankruptcy case, and some ongoing lawsuits, pension fund spokesman Bruce Babiarz said.

The board will seek a replacement in coming months.

Turner admitted in court that years ago, he gave previous trustees large amounts of cash as “birthday presents”. Those same trustees later voted to give Turner a raise.


Photo credit: “DavidStottsitsamongDetroittowers” by Mikerussell – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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