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Christie puts retiree earnings in the hands of supporters

We’ve all heard of the Bridge Gate scandal in New Jersey where top Chris Christie staffers closed the George Washington Bridge in alleged political retaliation from the governor. But more attention should be focused on a scandal that’s hurting New Jersey retirees’ pensions.

We all know that Christie is no friend to unions and has publicly bullied public workers in efforts to gain more power. He has tried to increase the retirement age of workers, cut benefits and make employees pay more into state plans.  What’s more egregious is that he has quietly steered the money of New Jersey workers to be managed by friends and billionaires who have boosted his political career.

New Jersey now has the second-largest allocation in the country of state retiree money being managed by hedge funds with estimates of outside money managers earning at least $1.2 billion in management and performance fees.

One of those benefiting is New York billionaire Dan Loeb, who ranks 974th on Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s richest billionaires. Loeb’s fortune is estimated at $1.5 billion. He also ranks as one of the worst offenders for selling out public workers – soliciting the retirement money of public workers and then lobbying for the same workers to lose their benefits. In New Jersey, Loeb’s fund collected nearly $5.2 million in fees. Loeb and other billionaire financiers were a part of a group that urged Christie to run for president of the United States.

Meantime, while the rich get richer -- workers get poorer. Last year, the New Jersey pension program delivered a return of 11.79 percent – lower than the pension median of 16.1 percent.

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