Whistleblower Disputes Retirement Officials on Placement Agent Claim

A whistleblower and former member of the Kentucky Retirement System’s board of trustees is disputing claims that the pension plan hasn’t used placement agents recently.

Chris Tobe is an investment expert who served on the system’s board for four years. He’s also the main witness in a Securities and Exchange Commissions investigation into KRS and its previous uses of placement agents.

Officials at the pension agency told lawmakers yesterday that they hadn’t used a placement agent in three years. But Tobe says the agency uses a group called ORG for real estate deals and that ORG is registered as an agent in California.

“And I think that to me, that disqualifies them as an independent consultant for KRS and that KRS should be much more sensitive to these issues since they are still in the middle of an SEC placement agent investigation,” he says.

Tobe says ORG is registered as a placement agent for the California Teachers Retirement System and that ORG can’t be an “independent consultant” in Kentucky and a registered agent somewhere else.

Tobe also says KRS and even the legislature is ignoring an important report regarding Kentucky’s use of placement agents in the past, which can be found here.

Agency officials did not respond to a request for comment.

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