Pension haircut dubbed 'Civil Theft'

JACKSONVILLE - Lawyers for one of the city’s richest retirees say he deserves more.

In a letter calling his recent pension reduction "civil theft," attorneys for John Keene, former director of the Police & Fire Pension Fund, are asking the city to restore his full payout.

Keane was set to earn $234,000 a year from a pension fund that he helped create and has just three participants.

City lawyers determined years ago that the pension fund was illegal. In April, Mayor Lenny Curry demanded that the city trim his annual payout by nearly $50,000 to $187,000 -- the max he could receive under the city’s primary employee pension fund.

In a letter delivered Thursday to the chief of the Police and Fire pension fund, Keane’s lawyers say the fund has a contractual obligation to pay the full amount. They also are asking for triple damages "for the funds of which you have deprived him."

Mayoral spokesperson Marsha Oliver says the mayor’s position hasn’t changed and is driven by "his  desire to protect taxpayer dollars." 

Keane’s lawyers declined to comment. City lawyers have not yet issued a response.


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