Four-year-old litigation over $27 million lost by at least 27 Indiana public school systems that invested in a troubled teachers union-sponsored health insurance plan has concluded with a settlement in which schools will receive about $14 million.
The Indiana State Teachers Union and National Education Association agreed to the settlement, according to an announcement Tuesday by Secretary of State Connie Lawson. The 27 school systems will share recovered amounts, and four school corporations will receive payments in excess of $1 million. Those systems are Crown Point School Corp., Marion Community Schools, Northeast School Corp. and Southwest Community School Corp. Northeast and Southwest school corporations are both in Sullivan County.
The school corporations invested their employees’ surplus health claims in ISTA vehicles designed to offset future healthcare costs. But ISTA instead used the money to cover shortfalls in its long-term disability plan and for ISTA’s benefit, according to the federal fraud suit.
“ISTA took money from one fund to pay claims and cover deficiencies of another, then issued falsified statements to clients to create the illusion of funds,” Lawson said in a statement. “This is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme.”
“In the next 10 days, school corporations will see a recovery four years in the making,” Lawson said in a statement. “Teachers and administrators alike can finally put this lawsuit behind them. They will receive 50 cents on the dollar for the money ISTA and NEA misappropriated. We strongly believe our case supported full repayment by ISTA and NEA, but we knew they were willing to spare no expense on endless litigation. This settlement gets these school corporations a much needed, immediate financial boost.”