New Orleans has failed to pay $17.5 million in required pension contributions to the city’s firefighters’ pension fund since 2010. A state court last year ruled that the city had to repay the fund in full, and an appeals court affirmed the ruling.
But New Orleans tried to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court – the city argued that it shouldn’t have had to shoulder the cost of the pension fund’s failed investments, which led to a decreased funding ratio and required higher payments from the city.
But today, the U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn’t hear the case. From NOLA.com:
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to stay out of the ongoing legal feud between the Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans firefighters’ pension board, leaving the city to cover disputed payments to the firefighters’ collective retirement account over the past four years.
The high court refused on Monday to hear an appeal from Landrieu arguing that state Judge Robin Giarrusso overstepped her authority when in March 2013 she ordered City Hall to immediately pay $17.5 million to the firefighters’ pension fund for shortfalls in 2012. Her ruling was upheld by the state’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in December.
The Supreme Court’s decision likely will have little bearing on the case, considering that Landrieu and the pension board have begun work on a compromise. On Friday, the two sides agreed to refinance the city’s debts to the fund, a shift that would considerably lower the city’s monthly payments should Giarrusso agree to it. That $17.5 million bill, for instance, would be lowered to $9.2 million under the proposed arrangement.
The two sides go back to District court on October 21.
Photo by Mark Fischer via Flickr CC License