Singing River pledged to publish all pension plan audits and make them available on their retirement webpage. The page notes that the audits for FY 2013 & 2014 are being finalized and will be posted upon completion.
Recent court filings revealed that SRHS received the audit in March 2015. Five months have passed and the audit has yet to be published.
Further, Singing River has submitted to the court evidence of the plan’s stability under seal. Why something as simple as a statement of assets should be accepted under seal is a curiosity. These are numbers that should generally be provided to plan members at regular intervals.
Could it be that the pension plan and Singing River itself are not in such peril as they claim?
The below was sent in by a friend regarding SRHS Ambulatory Services, Inc. Several months ago we reviewed the real estate transactions by SRHS Ambulatory Services and found them to have been conducted at arms length. That is, there was no outward evidence of insider dealing on the sales.
There is too much information on the returns to discuss in a single email. Suffice it to say, this non-profit entity:
- Has had various officers, all of whom are or were SRHS employees (Trulove, Shoemaker, Holland, Crews, Barnes-Taylor)
- Receives K-1s from (and thus is a part owner of) two for-profit LLCs: Mississippi Coast Endoscopy and Ambulatory Surgery Center & Ocean Springs Surgical and Endoscopy Center). The income from those two entities for the 2013 tax year was $761,000.
- Reports Total Assets as of 12/31/13 of $11.5M.
- Of that total, $7.6M is real estate with a basis of $6.4M. However, there is no debt, loan, mortgage, etc. identified on the return. So where did the money come from to buy this real estate, which is unidentified in the return?
- The real property owned in Jackson County by this entity can be viewed by going to http://mapping.co.jackson.ms.us/jacksoncountyflexwebmap/
- Of the total assets, $3.2M is cash. This cash is accumulating with no reported distributions to SRHS (which federal law would prohibit since this is a 501(c)(3) entity).
We will be posting the 990s shortly.
Billy Guice has released a statement on findings from LaPorte’s examination of the Singing River Health System Employee Pension Trust.
- There was “[…]no evidence of theft, embezzlement or pilfering from the Trust Assets.”
- “There remain questions as to the investment of Trust Assets, particularly in 2008 and 2009.”
- “[…]there is no evidence that any senior officer of Singing River Health Systems [sic] withdrew their individual contributions to the pension trust in anticipation of or consistent with the failure[…]”
- “[…]the cost of defense of various parties […] is being paid by SRHS’s Officer and Director Liability insurance carrier[…]”
Billy Guice announced at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting that he will have a press release out on Tuesday that “may answer a couple of questions.” From the Sun Herald’s reporting, Guice seems to be saying it has nothing to do with the pension: “another matter entirely.” The article quotes a nebulous hospital spokesman who stated that the BoT “reached a point where they think they have a plan that will work.”
Whether the plan is related to the pension crisis, financial viability, or pending litigation is totally unclear. We can only hope that tomorrow will bring about something concrete.
“Jackson County supervisors meet on pension, could be nothing” Karen Nelson, Sun Herald, June 1, 2015