Former SAG pension exec steered fund money to spouse's firm
Trustees for the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension and Health Plans are now grappling with another scandal involving a former executive.
Craig Simmons, the former human resources director at SAG-Producers Pension and Health Plans who was fired in March and accused his boss of steering business to family members, was himself involved in directing money to his spouse's marketing company, Fortress Communications, fund records show.
The payments are likely to draw more scrutiny from federal Labor Department officials, who have been investigating claims that another former senior executive in the plans allegedly embezzled millions of dollars by receiving kickbacks from several companies that did business with the funds. The alleged embezzlement scheme surfaced in a complaint Simmons filed with the U.S. Department of Labor last month charging wrongful termination and other claims.
Fund officials declined to comment on the payments to Fortress, citing a pending investigation of its own into Simmons' allegations.
In an interview, Simmons acknowledged that the payments may not have been appropriate, but he said it was "part of the culture of the organization" and that his bosses were fully aware of the Fortress work.
Read more on the story in today's business section.
-- Richard Verrier