Court filing accuses Texas’ largest police union of failing to make $1.3 million in pension contributions

CLEAT spokesperson says legal matter is not connected to operations or membership benefits

Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas sign outside of its San Antonio office.
Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas sign outside of its San Antonio office. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Texas’ largest police union is accused of failing to make more than $1.3 million in pension contributions, according to a federal lien filed in Bexar County this month.

The San Antonio office of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, is listed as the debtor in the lien filed Aug. 19 by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, or PBGC, is a Washington D.C.-based federal entity created in the 1970s to protect the benefits of employees and retirees in the event their pension plans become insolvent.

According to the lien, CLEAT in October failed to make contributions of $1,324,228 into its defined-benefit plan.

A spokesperson for PBGC declined to provide background on the filing this week, calling it a pending matter.

Jennifer Szimanski, CLEAT’s public affairs coordinator, released the following statement via email:

“Legal Counsel for the association have been in discussions with the Internal Revenue Service concerning an employee defined benefit retirement plan that was begun in the 1990′s and was initially closed in 2008. The issue is being addressed by experienced pension counsel, Robert Klausner, Robert Tarcza and James Thompson in addressing the plan design, funding and past issues related to the IRS and the PBGC. Benefits for retired senior staff members are continuing to be funded. These legal matters aren’t connected to CLEAT’s union operations or membership benefits in any way.”

Jennifer Szimanski

The legal matter is also not connected to retired San Antonio police officer or firefighter pensions, which are supervised by a different organization.

CLEAT, which boasts on its website of having more than 25,000 members across the state, provides legal services and attorneys for officers, including SAPD, who have been terminated or suspended and are attempting to have the discipline overturned or who are involved in shootings while on duty.

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