Lavish L.A. Pensions Are Exceeding IRS Limits

An LA Times data analysis has discovered dozens of retired Los Angeles employees are collecting hugely generous retirement pay that they exceed pension fund limits set by the Internal Revenue Service. 

The pensions are ultimately costing California taxpayers millions extra. 

Instead of using money to fix sidewalks or fight homelessness, the city has established an "Excess Benefit Plan" to pay what the pension system cannot legally cover due to the lavish pensions. 

The benefit plan has reportedly paid $14.6 million to 110 retired employees since 2010.

The $220,000 annual limit the IRS allows pension funds to pay has been routinely surpassed, mostly by former cops and firefighters who dominate the list of recipients. Their million-dollar payouts from a separate retirement program are well above the IRS limit. 

The top recipient of excess benefits last year was former LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, who receives a $251,000 pension and also received an additional $1.3-million lump sum payment through the Deferred Retirement Option Plan when he retired in 2016. The city had to pay more than half of his pension from the Excess Benefit Plan, according to the LA Times.

Hundreds of recipients took more than a year off at essentially double their usual pay. 

Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar did not comment on the mayor's opinion of the high payouts, knowing the city could use the money for other more important services. 

"Our police officers and firefighters spend their careers putting their lives on the line to protect our safety, and we have a responsibility to provide them the benefits they’ve earned,” Comisar said.

Photo: Getty Images

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