Group of Chicago Officers Sue for Pension Benefits

Despite paying into fund, officers say they're not being granted credit for service

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    WMAQ
    Some Chicago Police officers are alleging in a lawsuit that their pension board is illegally denying them retirement benefits because it isn't giving them credit for time they worked as Cook County Sheriff's deputies or in the county jail.

    Some Chicago Police officers are alleging in a lawsuit that their pension board is illegally denying them retirement benefits because it isn't giving them credit for time they worked as Cook County Sheriff's deputies or in the county jail.

    The federal class action lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

    "I feel like I'm being almost punished for unknown reasons," said Eusebio Razo, one of nine current and former officers filing suit.

    They say the Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago has continued its refusal to give them the pension credit despite an appellate court ruling in favor of a former Chicago police officer who sued.

    In all, 200 or more officers are being denied the credit without explanation, even as the board is granting the credit to others, the suit says.

    Razo worked eight years in corrections for Cook County and has been part of the fund since 1986.  Had he received full credit for his prior service, he would have been able to retire two years ago.  Instead, he must work six more years to receive his maximum pension.

    "The reason, they're going to say, of course, is, 'Well, we're trying to save money.'  Well, it's not your choice to save money.  Your fiduciary duty is to the policemen.  That's what the case law says,"  said attorney Michael Buckley Bolan.

    "You can't have 10 people walk in the door and give the pension to five people and turn down five people.  And that's exactly what they've done,"  added Keith Hunt.

    The executive director of the board would not comment on the lawsuit.