Don Steiner Asks CNBC Newsmen To Investigate Lucent's Refusal To Allow Independent Audit Of Pension Trust - September 23, 2004
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 3:24 PM
Subject: INTERVIEW: LUCENT'S PAT RUSSO
Dear Kudlow & Kramer:
We appreciate your insightful and timely program. You certainly have a corner on the market because no one is a close second. Your combined experience and expertise makes you an unbeatable combination.
As a Lucent retiree, I am a member of the Lucent Retirees Organization which has requested the company's management to allow an independent audit of its pension trust fund to assure its 127,000 retirees that the future of their pensions are secure. Lucent has rejected this request. Since this is the retirees' money, we have the right to know in detail the status of the fund and if there are sufficient assets to guarantee payment of the full promised benefits in the event of a corporate failure.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Lucent has added $929 million to its bottom line over its history as a result of credits from its pension and benefit plans. Also, Lucent eroded its pension assets by $800 million to pay termination benefits to 54,000 employees cut from its payroll in 2001. In addition, Lucent has significantly reduced, and in some cases eliminated, health care and other benefits. Retirees' pocket costs this year have increased as high as 300 per cent of their pension income just to maintain health care coverage.
In March 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission levied a $25,000,000.00 fine against Lucent for its "lack of cooperation" in an investigation of securities fraud charges. Our request, when fulfilled, should enhance their creditability, unless a problem exists that would expose a "cover-up."
The integrity of many corporations have taken major "hits" that we would fine inconceivable in the recent past.
Your inquiry into Lucent's reluctance to have their verbal positions validated through an outside audit would be greatly appreciated.
Donald D. Steiner
1645 Ala Wai Blvd. #807
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815