Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball won a major victory in court when Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd granted her request to participate in the ongoing lawsuit filed by former Kentucky Retirement Systems Board member Tommy Elliott.
“This is a real victory for Kentucky taxpayers and retirees,” Treasurer Ball said in a statement. “The courts recognized that, as Treasurer, I have the responsibility and legal authority to make sure that every taxpayer and retiree dollar is being spent legally. In a time that Kentucky’s retirement system is in crisis, Mr. Elliott’s actions not only violate the law, but they are incredibly wasteful and irresponsible. I would hope that he would stop spending hundreds of thousands of Kentucky retiree pensions on personal vendettas.”
Mr. Elliott is currently using Kentucky retiree pension dollars to fund his lawsuit against Governor Bevin. Governor Bevin removed Mr. Elliott from the KRS board last year, and Mr. Elliott sought legal counsel to contest his removal. Former Kentucky Retirement Systems director William Thielen initially approved Mr. Elliott’s request to use Kentucky retiree pension funds to pursue his claims against Governor Bevin’s administrator, causing Treasurer Ball to sue due to constitutional spending issues. Interim Director David Eager has stopped making payments on Mr. Elliott’s legal bills, while waiting for the court to rule on Treasurer Ball’s arguments.
The Attorney General is also involved in the case, arguing on Mr. Elliott’s behalf with regard to his removal, which underscores the Treasurer’s argument that Mr. Elliott’s is needlessly spending pension dollars. “To have two parties arguing the exact same issue from the exact same perspective is a huge waste of resources,” Treasurer Ball’s General Counsel, Noah Friend, said. “Especially when one of those parties is trying to foot the bill with hard-earned retiree pension money.”
Kentucky is currently facing a pension crisis and elected officials are looking for ways to make sure Kentucky’s public pension systems are fully funded.
“I will always advocate for legal and proper spending,” Treasurer Ball said. “It’s this kind of financial misadventure that put us in this pension crisis in the first place. I hope that Judge Shepherd’s decision causes Mr. Elliott to reconsider his approach to this litigation, with an eye towards stopping the pointless and wasteful draining of retirement funds.”