The Official Website of the Attorney General of Massachusetts
For Immediate Release - February 25, 2014

AG Coakley Urges MBTA Retirement Fund Board to Adopt Stronger Ethical Standards, Transparency

BOSTON – In an effort to establish stronger accountability at the MBTA retirement fund after the controversial loss of a $25 million investment, Attorney General Martha Coakley is urging the fund’s board to adopt conflict of interest and transparency standards expected of public agencies.  

“We feel strongly that taking action to increase transparency is in the best interest of current and retired MBTA employees, as well as the public,” said AG Coakley in a letter to the fund’s board. “Disconcerting reports of losses of a $25 million investment by the Fund have been compounded by the failure to disclose the loss in a timely manner and revelations of insufficient safeguards to protect against conflicts of interest. You have the opportunity to help ensure that similar issues are avoided in the future.”

In the letter pdf format of Letter to MBTA Retirement Board 2-24-14
sent Monday, AG Coakley asked the board to adopt ethical standards that align with chapter 268A, including a cooling-off period for former employees, as well as greater disclosures of employees' and former employees' financial interests. While the MBTA retirement fund board has historically operated as a private trust, the MBTA derives a significant portion of its overall revenues from fares paid by transit riders and dedicated sales tax revenues. As a result, she says the board should not be exempt from ethical standards required of other public institutions and employees. 

In addition, AG Coakley urged the board to amend the agreement governing the retirement fund to allow public scrutiny, since other public pension boards such as PRIM are subject to public records laws.  The letter was sent in advance of legislative hearings scheduled for today by the Joint Committee on Public Service to gather information about the Fund’s financial condition, management practices, ethical and disclosure requirements, and transparency.               

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