Story of wealthy retiree raises ire in times like these

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Stories like these hit consumers hard during times of extreme belt-tightening. Jon Reddin is retiring from his position as a district attorney for Milwaukee County after 35 years on the job. And he'll be taking more than a million dollars of taxpayer money with him.

Reddin gets a lump sum payout of $976,499 immediately upon retiring. In addition to that, he'll be getting monthly pension checks of $6,070, or $72,840 a year. Not a bad payday, if you can get it.

What's behind this massive windfall for Reddin? It stems from the locally recognized "pension scandal" that occurred in 2000 and 2001. Milwaukee County lawmakers approved a benefit package for county employees that included these lavish pension benefits. When taxpayers found out the real cost of these benefits, all hell broke loose. But it was too late. The benefits had been approved and the lawyers said it couldn't be undone.

So during a time when families, businesses, and governments are struggling to make ends meet, retirees are walking away with huge sums of money that seem like a slap in the face to the rest of us. I realize that Reddin didn't ask for this benefit, and he's simply collecting what shady lawmakers assigned to him. It doesn't decrease the sting of the reality of a million dollar retirement benefit courtesy of taxpayers, however.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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