Allegations of widespread embezzlement at the SAG Pension & Health Plans that ruined the career of the benefit plans’ longtime chief administrator Bruce Dow quietly have been settled. “That case is over,” said Robin Dal Soglio, the attorney who represented Dow and the plans in a confidential arbitration of the matter. The case that started with a bang has ended with a thud.
The allegations made headlines when Craig Simmons, the plans’ executive director of human resources, alleged in 2011 that Dow was sending the plans’ insurance business to his wife and that she pocketed part of the premiums, that Dow underreported the amount of money allegedly embezzled by a former employee, that Dow paid his brother-in-law for a no-show job and that Dow used insider information to benefit his church.
In his initial 2012 lawsuit (read it here), Simmons alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in March 2011, because he wouldn’t cover up Dow’s alleged multimillion-dollar scheme. Dow retired as CEO of the SAG Pension and Health Plans in April 2012.
Simmons had vowed to blow the roof off of corruption at the SAG benefit plans, but the case fizzled without any of his allegations having been proved. The settlement ends his wrongful-termination suit, in which Simmons claimed he was fired after complaining to the plans’ trustees about widespread corruption. When officials denied his allegations, Simmons filed a libel suit. Court records show that the wrongful-termination suit was dismissed in 2012 so that it could go to arbitration. Simmons’ defamation suit (read it here) was dismissed last year.
The Department of Labor launched an investigation into his claims, and it is unclear where that investigation stands now that the lawsuits have been settled. DOL chief investigator Dale Lowe declined comment, but don’t be too surprised if nothing comes of that either.
Until recently, Simmons spoke freely to reporters about the case. During the past few months, however, he has not returned numerous phone calls, telling friends that he was subject to a “gag order.” His attorneys have not returned calls either.
Dal Soglio said she is “not at liberty to discuss the matter because it took place in the context of a confidential arbitration.” Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Diane Lane was the arbitrator.