in Houston, Texas
Teacher Retirement System of Texas files suit to keep top 10 pension amounts secret
Thursday, Jun 23, 2011, 01:43PM CST
By Kevin Lee

The state’s largest pension fund is suing to block release of some basic numbers on retiree payments requested by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is suing the the Texas attorney general after the AG sided with the Star-Telegram in its public information request for “the amount of the top 10 retirement annuity checks for TRS members who retired in May 2010. The request also sought information about individuals' average salaries used to compute the monthly lifetime annuity checks.”

The newspaper requested that the TRS withhold names, titles and other identifying information of retirees, and the Texas AG ruled that the retirement system must comply.

The pension fund claims that participants could still be identified using other public information if the request were fulfilled.

From Wednesday’s Star-Telegram article:
Freedom of information advocates called the Teacher Retirement System of Texas lawsuit "frivolous" and said the action was intended to keep the public in the dark.

"It is hard to imagine in these days of budget constraints a matter more directed to the public interest than this information,'' said Joseph Larsen, a board member of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. "There is no legitimate reason for TRS to withhold this, and it appears to be to protect the interest of the pension holders rather than to act in a responsible administrative capacity."
Texas Watchdog reported earlier this year on the difficulty of extracting pension and retiree information from state government.

At the time of a 2009 analysis by an outside consultant, the TRS was distributing $6.27 billion in retirement annuity payments annually, with more than 284,000 people receiving benefits.
Contact Kevin Lee at 713-228-3733 or

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Photo of 'secret' label by flickr user Audric Leperdi, used via a Creative Commons license.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Saturday, 05/26/2012 - 09:53AM

Thanks for sharing the information. I am doing research on Cary Kochman Wilmette . Do you have any information? Pls let me know.

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