Grand Jury Decision on Singing River Health System Pension Plan

A Grand Jury has decided no criminal wrongdoing was done in the case of the termination of the Singing River Health System Pension Plan.  They considered 353 counts involving 228 defendants.  The Grand Jury heard testimony between Wednesday June 10, 2015 and Monday June 15, 2015.  They heard from Singing River CEO Kevin Holland, former Singing River executive Greg Shoemaker, forensic accountant Donna Ingram, attorney Billy Guice, and the FBI. 

 

“I think the citizens on the Grand Jury, after looking at the documents and hearing the testimony, decided what happened at SRHS were business management decisions and not criminal conduct,” District Attorney Tony Lawrence said in a statement.  “Business decisions, whether they turn out good, bad or hurtful (some of these certainly were), are not criminal unless a specific statute makes them so.”

 

According to the Grand Jury report, after the funding of the pension plan stopped in 2010 annual audit reports continued to account for the contribution amount owed by the Singing River Health System as a liability.  That means they recognized funds were owed to the pension plan even though no contribution was made.  The audit reports reflected the growing amount Singing River Health System owed to the Pension Plan.

 

“The Legislature tells us what action is criminal or not,” Lawrence’s statement reads.  “If there is no statute prohibiting certain conduct, then it is not a crime under Mississippi Law. “

 

The Grand Jury believes that the employees and retirees should have been informed about the status of the pension plan.  Despite the fact the Grand Jury found no criminal wrongdoing, the reports states their finding does not diminish the Grand Jury’s concern for the affected retirees, employees, or the hospital itself.

 

Lawrence says, “I join in the directives of the Grand Jury and hope the Supervisors and the Trustees will come together for the better of the County and not only fix the Pension Plan for the employees and retirees, but also ensure the survivability of the Hospital.”

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