A Los Angeles Times investigation found that trustees of the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) have spent more than $1.3 million on hundreds of trips across the county and abroad since 2015.
The investigation found trips to international locales including Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Paris.
County Supervisor Hilda Solis called for county and state auditors to check LACERA’s books.
Recent audits by LACERA’s own auditors raised red flags about the trips, but noted they followed proper procedure and policy.
While it is not uncommon for trustees to travel for conferences related to pension investments, LACERA remained an outlier compared to comparable pension plans, the Times reported. In fiscal year 2018, LACERA spent $400,000 on education travel for its trustees, three times the amount the state spent on the California Public Employees’ Retirement System trustee travel.
The Times found the chair of the board has spent $97,000 on travel since 2015. The spending included an education program that cost $10,000 just for registration.
Les Robbins, LACERA’s vice chair, told the Times: “The board is probably going to take a look at the travel policy and perhaps make some changes. But we have board members who like to travel.” (Source: Los Angeles Times, July 29.)