Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lobetti has two years to pay back coin

Yesterday, I noted how I had a bunch of scribblings left from Monday's pension board meeting. Good stuff. Heh.

Anyhoo, awhile back political operative Robert M. “Mose” Lobetti had a little debate with the board over some coin members say he owes.

Halls Shopper reporter Betty Bean wrote about it right smack here.
Essentially, Mose, who has worked behind the scenes (and not so behind the scenes) on a number of political campaigns, including the recent failed effort by Mark Padgett to gain the Knoxville mayoral seat, is on the Uniformed Officers Pension Plan.

Yup, same plan that voters thought was for deputies, jailers and overall ass-kicking law enforcement officers out there risking their lives every day because they don't make a whole heck of a lot of money. But, yeah, he's on it, cause bailiffs (which are technically called courtroom security officers) are on it.

(Forgot one thing: Mose has also been involved in some Congressional races for the Duncans, but, uh, a trained monkey could run that family's campaign. They don't lose. In fact, if a Duncan doesn't get 80 percent of the vote, it's an upset. But, I digress.)

Soooo, some folks were pretty shocked that he's on the plan and owes some money. Again, read Bean's story for the background because I'm just jumping into what followed on Monday. Cause it's silly. And we like silly at Screams from da Porch.

Entertainment at the expense of others and all that.

(By the way, this guys is more connected to the incestuous relationships inside the Deathstar than then brick and mortar that hold the building together. So, if you think I'm picking on him – and I'm not – I don't really care. Public figure and all that. Plus, he goes around, wanting people to refer to him as “The Godfather.”)

So, the pension board/office wants the old dude to pay pack $13,000. (He should have paid it back a long time ago but, due to an “oversight,” he wasn't informed until – I think – earlier this year.)

That's the $11K he took out, plus some interest and 7.5 percent rate of return on investments even thought – during the lifetime of the UOPP – the rates have come in at negative 3.12, according to third quarter – it ended Sept. 30 – reports. (That was a mouthful.)

Heh. Good deal for the pension system. Bad deal for Mose. Now, Mose, 82, doesn't want to pay this back. And I don't blame him. But, if he doesn't, then he's not going to get the full benefits of the UOPP until the coin gets returned.

His attorney, Steve Sharp, also doesn't want him to have to pay it back. Can't blame him, either, since he's paid to not want Mose to have to pay it back.

Said Sharp: “Mr. Lobetti is not a wealthy man and $13,000 is a lot of money.”

Now, the pension board is willing to work with them. Members suggested giving him two years to pay it back. In monthly installments. (That would be $531.666 a month.)

Mose, visibly disgusted, didn't like that.

“They (the pension office) have known this for four years and didn't tell me, but I'm not blaming anybody,” he told the board.

Say what?

Mose, who makes $44,116.28 in annual salary, added: “It's going to be rough if I have to pay back (the money) every month. It may put me in bankruptcy.”

Now, historically, officials said, those transferred to the UOPP “had six months to repay any distributions to reinstate the time in the UOPP.”

Mose at one point also asked whether he could pay back part of the coin with a $10,000 life insurance policy or something or other he's had since 1950 when he served in the U.S. Navy.

Pension Board attorney Richard Beeler told him that wasn't gonna fly – no, he can't sign over a policy to the county.

Apparently frustrated, Mose told the board that when he joined the pension plan he turned over $130,000.

He made this out to be a big deal. Let me tell you something: That $130,000 isn't jack.

Under the Sheriff's Office defined benefit plan he's going to get $33,087 a year in retirement, plus a 3 percent cost of living adjustment each year. That's 75 percent of his total salary.

Now, how much a year do you think he's gonna get with that $130,000, which no doubt would be worth about 5 cents (give or take a penny) right now because of the stock market?

That's what I thought.

Now, people might think I'm being harsh, but, seriously, quit your whining.

Additionally, some folks at the meeting (and Mose a few months ago) made it out that Mose just HAD to take that $11,000 payout – that it was just forced right on into his wallet.

Nope. According to pension board executive director Kim Bennett, he received the minimal required distribution, but because he was employed, “it technically wasn't required that he take it.”

So, round and around we go.

Now, Mose says he doesn't understand “why I have to pay the interest.”

Uh . . . . Huh?

He said if the board gave him two years, then he'd pay back the $11,000. (Screw the interest or whatever, I suppose.)

Huh? So, make up your mind. Do you have the coin or not? What are you gonna do between now and then to raise $11K?

Never mind, don't answer that.

Eventually county commissioner and pension board member Richard Briggs wanted this mess to end. He said $13K was “a big chunk of money if you don't anticipate it or get blindsided by it.

He suggested giving Mose two years to repay it “with one stipulant (that's French by the way for “stipulating”): That he can't die in two years.”

He was kidding.

If Mose does, then the coin (which we will now refer to as “debt”) will be taken out of his death benefits that will be passed along to whoever.

So, the board – which at one point had no idea what it was voting to approve – agreed to give the guy two years to pay back what will eventually be more than $13K. Mose said he'll pay it in one lump sum at that time.

Bennett said her office will recalculate the coin and come back with the exact amount of scratch later. It's going to be more than $13K, but she has two years to come up with the new number.

In the meantime, Mose ain't gonna die. He'll make sure Congressman Jimmy Duncan gets a law passed to prevent that from happening.

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