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Aguirre’s Pension Lawsuit Could Hinge on Statue of Limitations

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Aired 4/19/09

A San Diego Superior Court Judge has handed down a final decision that appears to have squelched city attorney Mike Aguirre’s effort to roll back hundreds of millions of dollars in pension benefits. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Judge Jeffrey Barton’s final decision is based on two events that happened last month, both involving the statute of limitations for prosecuting government conflict of interest.

Aguirre argued pension increases were granted by the city’s retirement board, motivated by its own personal gain: that’s known as a 1090 violation.

The alleged wrongdoing came to light back in late 2002, when pension board member Diann Shipione blew the whistle. But Aguirre didn’t file his complaint until 2005.

Until now, it wasn’t clear if 1090 claims could be filed up to one or three years after the event. But just last month a state appeals court ruled in favor of a one year limit, effectively disqualifying Aguirre’s suit.

Ironically, the governor has just signed a law that would extend that time limit on conflict of interest charges to four years. But that wont help Aguirre’s case -- the state law won’t go into effect until 2008.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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