Home  >  New Jersey  >  MORE THAN 1,200 NJ STATE RETIREES GET $100K PENSIONS Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

MORE THAN 1,200 NJ STATE RETIREES GET $100K PENSIONS Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

By   /   April 2, 2012  /   No Comments

 

Call it the $100K Club — an elite corps of retired public employees that’s growing bigger, younger and richer at the expense of the New Jersey retirement system.

The number of retirees collecting more than $100,000 a year from state pensions jumped to 1,244 last year, up 28 percent from 2010, according to New Jersey Watchdog’s analysis of state data.

Special retirements” by police and fire employees — some as young as age 43 — account for half of the increase. It is really special for those who game the system.

New Brunswick Police Director Anthony Caputo, for example, retired at age 47 to draw a $115,019 annual pension. On his way out, he collected $376,234 from the city for unused vacation, sick and personal time.

One year later, New Brunswick rehired Caputo as police director — the same position — at a $120,000 salary. For one job, he receives two checks, totaling $235,019 a year.  Caputo did not respond to a request for comment.

For a privileged minority of public employees, benefits are so generous that many become pension millionaires without double-dipping. Meanwhile, state retirement funds face a deficit estimated from $36 billion to $144 billion.

Joseph Blaettler will rake in more than $4.5 million from the Police and Firemen’s Retirement Fund, if he reaches age 80, his statistical life expectancy.

At age 46, Blaettler began pocketing nearly $135,000 a year in retirement checks when he stepped down as Union City deputy police chief in 2009. Blaettler — now a private investigator — gets the biggest pension New Jersey pays to any retiree under 50.

“Politicians created this system, and I simply accepted what they gave me along the way,” wrote Blaettler in an email to New Jersey Watchdog. “If taxpayers want to get angry with someone, they need to ask their local and state politicians how they allowed the system to get to the point it is at.”

New Jersey Watchdog found 56 other $100K Club members who retired in their 40s.  (See list below.) All are PFRS pensioners who worked for local or county governments and took advantage of the special retirement rule, available only to eligible police, prosecutors and fire officials.

The rule allows them to retire at any age after 25 years of employment. Their pension pay ranges from 60 percent to 70 percent of their highest salary under the state’s formula.

Of the $100K Club’s 1,244 pensioners, 552 — or 45 percent — belong to PFRS. Special retirements account for 479 — or 87 percent — of those six-figure pensions.

The club also includes 383 retirees from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, 253 from the Judicial Retirement System and 99 from the Public Employee Retirement System.

No one from the State Police Retirement System made the $100K Club. SPRS’s top retiree, William Malast, fell short with $97,897 a year in pension pay.

Not surprisingly, the biggest pensions often go to public officials who received the largest salaries.

Robert Mulcahy hit the jackpot, when he was fired as Rutgers University’s $341,250-a-year athletic director in 2008. He was forced out after a university audit found secret deals and off-the-books spending by his regime.

Mulcahy received a severance package that cost Rutgers more than $600,000. Under the agreement, the state university paid:

  • $511,875, equaling 18 months of Mulcahy’s salary,
  • $60,000 in bonus money,
  • $18,000 in automobile allowance,
  • $13,950 for country club membership dues, and
  • $15,000 to pay Mulcahy’s lawyer for negotiating the agreement.

Because Mulcahy was paid in one lump sum, he was free to start collecting a $162,399 annual pension from PERS the following month. It is the second-largest retirement benefit paid by New Jersey.

Thanks to Gov. Chris Christie, Mulcahy is back in state government.

Last year, Christie appointed Mulcahy to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which manages and invests hundreds of millions of dollars in state gaming taxes.

Mulcahy is vice chairman of CRDA.  Authority officials say he chose not to receive a salary, set by statute at $18,000 a year.

Mulcahy could not be reached for comment.

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$100K CLUB MEMBERS WHO RETIRED UNDER AGE 50

Name Retire Age Pension/YR Employer at Retirement
BLAETTLER, JOSEPH J 46 $134,773 UNION CITY
NOVICK, CRAIG R 47 $126,210 FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (SOMERSET)
MURRAY, JOSEPH A 46 $121,937 PATERSON CITY
OREILLY, MICHAEL J 49 $120,134 JERSEY CITY FIRE DEPT.
PECKERMAN, MICHAEL A 48 $120,015 PARSIPPANY TROY HILLS TOWNSHIP
MANGARELLA, PETER J 48 $116,407 NEW BRUNSWICK CITY
CAPUTO, ANTHONY A 47 $115,019 NEW BRUNSWICK CITY
MORAN, ROBERT 49 $114,990 ENGLEWOOD CITY
CUNNING, EDWARD T 49 $113,913 HOBOKEN CITY
ZISA, FRANK C 48 $113,355 HACKENSACK CITY
DUNTON, CHRISTOPHER L 49 $110,800 JACKSON TOWNSHIP
REGINO, DANIEL 48 $109,245 TENAFLY BOROUGH
MAYER, ANTHONY G 45 $108,579 HILLSIDE TOWNSHIP
WRIGHT, ROBERT 47 $108,513 PARAMUS BOROUGH
NEWMAN, DAVID 48 $108,228 JACKSON TOWNSHIP
SMITH, BRIAN P 49 $107,685 PARAMUS BOROUGH
SMITH, MARK A 48 $107,683 BAYONNE CITY
ROMAN, RICHARD 47 $107,485 HACKENSACK CITY
CRAMPTON, PETER J 45 $106,925 PATERSON CITY
TIERNAN, PAUL M 49 $106,701 TEANECK TOWNSHIP
SCHWARTZ, ROBERT A 49 $106,701 ATLANTIC CITY
DAUBER, JOHN L 48 $106,128 EDISON TOWNSHIP
MCDONALD, EDWIN J 44 $106,075 PERTH AMBOY CITY
CROTHERS, THOMAS R 48 $105,980 EAST BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP
BRINGA, ALBERTO L 47 $105,333 WEST NEW YORK TOWN
LOMIA, FRANK 48 $105,061 HACKENSACK CITY
SALIM, JOHN R 48 $104,951 HACKENSACK CITY
CATANESE, JOSEPH J 48 $104,668 NEW BRUNSWICK CITY
DEPOLO, DANIEL J 48 $104,570 POINT PLEASANT BEACH BOROUGH
RICHMOND, GARY 47 $104,460 NORTH BERGEN TOWNSHIP
STOLTENBORG, RICHARD J 49 $103,908 RIDGEFIELD BOROUGH
CLAYTON, TIMOTHY J 46 $103,815 WALL TOWNSHIP
MARKULIC, DONNA L 46 $103,540 HOWELL TOWNSHIP
HAILEY, KEVIN C 49 $102,988 CAMDEN CITY
PARKER, LARRY D 44 $102,861 STAFFORD TOWNSHIP
GUTCH, JAMES F 49 $102,644 JERSEY CITY
HARGIS, EDWARD G 45 $102,561 CAMDEN CITY
KLOOS, WILLIAM D 49 $102,521 NORTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP
ORIENTE, MICHAEL 47 $102,432 NORTH HUDSON REG FIRE & RESCUE
PARREY, ERNEST T 47 $102,428 TRENTON CITY
TURNER, MICHAEL 47 $102,303 HOBOKEN CITY
PALOTTA, JOHN 47 $102,276 BERGEN COUNTY
GOLDBERG, BRUCE R 49 $102,234 HACKENSACK CITY
THOMPSON, JOHN P 49 $102,100 RUTHERFORD BOROUGH
SABO, STEVEN M 49 $101,954 ENGLEWOOD CITY
OSINSKI, WILLIAM D 46 $101,868 HACKENSACK CITY
CZULADA, THOMAS J 47 $101,543 BERGEN COUNTY
MCGORTY, THOMAS 48 $101,405 WEEHAWKEN TOWNSHIP
TREANOR, JOSEPH M 43 $101,356 UNION CITY
QUIDOR, STEVEN 46 $101,211 NORTH HUDSON REG FIRE & RESCUE
CUNNING, DANIEL A 48 $100,958 HOBOKEN CITY
JANZEKOVICH, ROBERT J 46 $100,782 EAST BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP
DAINO, DANIEL 48 $100,751 NORTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP
OWENS, PATRICK J 48 $100,453 SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP
LEE, DONALD J 49 $100,353 HACKENSACK CITY
PADO, KENNETH L 46 $100,336 NORTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP
LANDAU, ERIC 48 $100,328 MARLBORO TOWNSHIP
HERVEY, STEVEN J 48 $100,104 FORT LEE BOROUGH

 

New Jersey Watchdog’s research focused on retirees from public employment who receive more than $100,000 a year in retirement pay from the state pension system. Disability pensions and benefits for survivors were not included the study.

Data are from state pension records provided by the New Jersey State Treasury. Pension amounts are current as of December 31, 2011.

The above table lists employees who took “special retirements” before age 50. The retirement ages are accurate within a six-month margin of error. State and local government agencies consider release of exact birth dates as an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of public employees.

# # #

Links to New Jersey Watchdog’s previous investigative stories on New Jersey public pensions:

‘RETIRED’ ATLANTIC CITY TOURISM COP HITS NJ PENSION JACKPOT WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS ATTORNEY GENERAL FRIENDS

MEET THE BIGGEST ‘TRIPLE-DIPPER’ IN THE NEW JERSEY STATEHOUSE: SEN. FRED MADDEN POCKETS $241,000 A YEAR IN PAY & PENSION

NJ HOMELAND SECURITY’S 18 DOUBLE-DIPPERS NAB $9M IN PENSIONS

NEW JERSEY PROSECUTORS EMPLOY 125 DOUBLE-DIPPING ‘RETIREES’; THEY TAKE $8.6 MILLION A YEAR IN STATE PENSIONS PLUS SALARIES

NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL DOW’S 23 DOUBLE-DIPPING AGENTS ‘ARREST’ $14 MILLION FROM STATE PENSION FUNDS AND KEEP THE CASH

NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL’S 23 DOUBLE-DIPPERS POCKET MILLIONS; MOST ‘RETIRE’ FOR ONE DAY, THEN COLLECT PENSIONS FOR LIFE

CHRISTIE’S ‘RETIRED’ BUDGET GURU POCKETS $1M IN PUBLIC PAYOUTS

44 TOP COUNTY COPS DO THE BIG DOUBLE-DIP: HOW 16 SHERIFFS & 28 UNDERSHERIFFS POCKET MILLIONS IN PENSIONS PLUS SALARIES

LT. GOV. GUADAGNO ON HOT SEAT AS STATE INVESTIGATES SHERIFFS’ MILLION-DOLLAR DOUBLE-DIPPING SCAMS

 GUADAGNO-GATE: HOW NJ’S LT. GOVERNOR IS GETTING AWAY WITH $245,000 STATE PENSION SCAM

ESSEX COUNTY SHERIFF’S CHIEF SCAMS $860,000 FROM PENSION

LT. GOV. GUADAGNO & THE $170,000 STATE PENSION FUND SCAM

ASSEMB. DAVE RIBLE & NJ’s RUNAWAY PENSION SYSTEM

Click here to LEARN HOW TO STEAL OUR STUFF!

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