IBJNews

Feds sue developer Premier over raid on retirement accounts

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Executives of defunct Indianapolis developer Premier Properties USA Inc. are negotiating to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor that claims the company raided employee retirement accounts in a last-ditch bid to save itself in early 2008.

The government has accused founder Christopher P. White, general counsel Bruce E. Smith and vice president Judy K. Schnettgoecke of misappropriating about $46,000 of employee contributions to a 401(k) plan between Jan. 1, 2008 and March 18, 2008.

The case, filed in June in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleges Premier and its top executives violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, in failing to "discharge their duties with respect to the plan solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has asked the court to order the Premier executives to repay the misappropriated funds and pay for an independent firm to wind down the plan. The department also is asking for the court to ban each of the defendants from serving as fiduciaries to any ERISA-covered plan in the future.

None of the defendants has filed a response to the case, citing ongoing settlement discussions. The court on Oct. 15 issued a stay in the case so the parties can proceed with settlement talks.

Premier, which developed dozens of projects, including Plainfield's Metropolis mall, imploded at the peak of the credit crunch two years ago, leaving its high-flying founder with little to show for years of successful development.

White took on daring projects with little margin for error, often in unproven retail markets like Plainfield. He also developed ambitious projects in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada. But when credit markets tightened, his luck ran out.

Premier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2008. A month later, a judge converted the case to Chapter 7 and ordered the company liquidated.

Last year, White was sentenced to one year on home detention and three years of probation in connection with a $500,000 bad check he wrote as he tried to save the company.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

ADVERTISEMENT