Arkansas Legislators Grill Teachers' Pension Leader Over Securities Lawsuit

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July 18, 2018

Lawmakers in Arkansas questioned the executive director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS) during a hearing yesterday over the fund’s involvement in the controversial $300 million State Street Corp. securities lawsuit in Massachusetts, Legal Newsline reports.

Sen. Jason Rapert said there is “way too much smoke going around here” after a special master’s report found potentially “highly questionable” conduct in the way the attorneys’ fees were shared. Many questions revolved around the $4.1 million referral fee was paid to Damon Chargois, a lawyer who did not work on the case. Though the fee was technically legal under Massachusetts law, Chargois’ lack of involvement in the litigation led the judge to ask if “all those millions of dollars stopped” there.

A series of campaign contributions from Chargois and other plaintiffs’ attorneys to Arkansas officials could represent a connection between the firms involved in the case, Chargois, and the Arkansas officials who pushed ATRS to be more active in securities litigation.