County Officials Discuss Recovering Lost Pension Funds in Secret Meeting

Baltimore County pension officials are privately scrambling to meet a deadline to file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover tens of millions of dollars in county pension funds.

County Budget Director Keith Dorsey and County Attorney Michael Field met with Council members Vicki Almond, Cathy Bevins, David Marks and Ken Oliver and members of the county auditor’s office late Monday prior to the council’s voting session. The subject of the meeting was the approval of a contract to hire an outside attorney to pursue a lawsuit against Merrill Lynch, multiple sources tell Patch, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

Almond confirmed the meeting, but said the discussion was confidential.

“This will all be discussed at a future date,” Almond said.

Oliver, reached by phone Tuesday, declined comment.

“I won’t comment on it,” said Oliver.

Marks also declined comment.

“The discussions were confidential,” said Marks.

Bevins did not return calls seeking comment.

At issue was a $21 million investment made nearly five years ago by a county employee in a fund invested primarily in subprime mortgages. The fund, called Mainsail II LLC, collapsed when the economy tanked and the housing bubble burst.

The outside attorney, who would work on a contingency fee basis, would file a lawsuit similar to that filed by Kings County, WA, in July 2010. The law firm would be paid more than 33 percent plus expenses, if the county wins its case, sources said.

Don Mohler, a spokesman and chief of staff to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, acknowledged the meeting, but declined to answers questions about the subject.

“Mike Field had a confidential, closed, attorney-client briefing with the council about possible legal action that may or may not come before the council in the next couple of weeks,” said Mohler.

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