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  • STRS Ohio Watchdogs

Minnesota Teachers Fundraise Forensic Audit of State Pension System

Minnesota educators are concerned the Teacher Retirement Association that manages the statewide educator pension system may have mishandled assets.

By Edward Siedle

March 11, 2024

Minnesota educators are concerned that the Teacher Retirement Association (TRA), the body that manages the statewide educator pension system, has mishandled employee contributions.

Despite increased teacher contributions and high investment returns, TRA has continued to report minimal gains and a 23.6% fund deficiency. Further mistrust stems from reports of hostile responses to requests for documentation, refusal to hold meetings when members are able to attend, closed door conversations, providing misleading data, and a general lack of transparency.

In response, educators have set up a GoFundMe to crowdsource the funds to hire attorney and pension expert Edward “Ted” Siedle to conduct a forensic investigation of TRA.

TRA currently has 215,000 members. Pension contributions are self-funded through mandatory salary deductions. Inequitable funding commitments, increased contributions and significantly decreased benefits for some but not all members, board bias, and concerns that teachers may lose their pensions prompted the fundraiser.

Edward “Ted” Siedle is a world-renowned expert in financial forensics. A former Forbes writer and attorney with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, he spent four decades investigating over one trillion dollars in assets under management. In 2018, Ted secured the largest CFTC whistleblower award in history (thirty million dollars) and in 2017, the largest SEC whistleblower award of forty-eight million. Siedle was named as one of the 40 most influential people in the U.S. pension debate by Institutional Investor magazine.

Mr. Siedle has undertaken similar reviews of the $8 billion Rhode Island, $100 billion North Carolina and $90 billion Ohio Teachers state pension which have exposed extensive conflicts of interest, undisclosed fees and potential violations of law. He welcomes the opportunity to discuss the nature, scope and timing of his investigation with members of the media.

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