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HomeNewsArchivesFederal Agency Files Liens Against Vitelco and Daily News, Yet Again

Federal Agency Files Liens Against Vitelco and Daily News, Yet Again

May 10, 2007 — A federal agency has filed another set of liens against two of Jeffrey Prosser's properties saying that they, yet again, have not paid agreed-upon sums into the workers' pension plans.
Last year at about this time, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) filed liens worth $3.2 million against Vitelco and the Daily News Publishing Company for failure to make contributions to these plans.
This year the PBGC says that the cumulative amount of money owed is more than double what it was last year. The pension debt of $3.2 million last year has grown to more than $6.7 million, plus interest accrued since October 15, 2006.
The liens mean that the properties cannot be sold without, in some manner, satisfying these debts.
The PBGC's actions, in filing the liens with the office of the Recorder of the Deeds in the Lt. Governor's Office, are civil actions; they simply add another large sum of money to be considered in connection with the ongoing Prosser bankruptcy cases.
According to Jeffrey Speicher, press person for PBCG, the pension plans are the traditional ones called "defined benefit plans" in which the employer promises to pay the workers a set amount of money – say $1,000 a month – upon retirement. No workers' contributions are included in these plans.
Last year Frederick Joseph, sub-director of the United Steelworkers of America locals 8713 and 8545, told the Source that the union, in an effort to help Prosser support the pension system, had agreed to keep the rate of contributions constant, rather than seeking an increase in it – to make pensions larger.
Officials at the USW offices said Joseph is currently out of the territory and unavailable for comment.
When asked for comment, ICC Vice President Holland Redfield said, "It's probably a misunderstanding like last time." Redfield then asked for questions in writing and said the company would issue a formal response within a day or so.
Whether the current level of pensions, once guaranteed to Vitelco and Daily News workers, will survive the bankruptcy process is an another unresolved question, as many mainland workers (such as airline pilots) have found their pension benefits substantially reduced as a by-product of bankruptcy proceedings.
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