Dave’s Strange Phone Calls

Dec 8, 2008

Dave sure gets some interesting phone calls. Remember the gunshot call just before Gene Upshaw left the scene? (Read that post by clicking HERE.) We’re happy to say those kinds of calls have stopped.

But with the letter-writing campaign to AON Corp. and its CEO Gregory Case, it’s been lots and lots of correspondence. (Click HERE to read the original letter that started it all.) We’ve probably been responsible for killing a small forest. Dave’s been getting letters from pretty much everyone EXCEPT Mr. Case and their attorneys; instead, they’ve taken to writing everyone else except Dave, including the Attorneys General of Washington, New York and Connecticut, among others. Why, Dave even got a letter from Larry Lamade of Akin Gump, the NFL’s attorneys. Everyone writes letters and it creates a great paper trail so everyone knows what’s going on.

So it was quite a surprise when Dave received a very strange phone call last week (on Thursday, Dec. 4th) from an Edward Simpkins from the Department of Labor in DC. Apparently, the Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had forwarded Dave’s information to the Dept. of Labor for review and somehow it ended up with Mr. Simpkins. Dave took notes from his short and cryptic conversation with Simpkins who mumbled his way through the short phone call. The general idea he conveyed was that because Dave signed his original retirement benefit documents as a Joint Annuity (with his wife, Heidi, as the designated beneficiary upon his death) rather than as a Single beneficiary, there was nothing more that could be done (?!!). Now none of us profess to be experts at disability benefits or retirement pensions but what the heck does the single or joint selection have to do with Dave getting a copy of his death benefit (or policy) in writing from his Plan Administrator (supposedly the NFLPA, his union).

After the phone call, Dave noticed that his caller ID indicated the call came from (301) 552-2014 – a Maryland number. But when he asked Mr. Simpkins for his number before hanging up, he hesitantly gave him his “office” number as (202) 693-8647 – a real DC number. All we know is that when we called that second number, you can barely make out a very garbled announcement message from Edward Simpkins mumbling something about Department of Labor (it took us a few calls to hear it all).

At first, we even thought it might have been another crank call but even now, we’re not completely sure of anything. Reverse Phone Number searches don’t confirm that either number comes from a government office. And many of the other retired players had already warned Dave that the Department of Labor has never expressed any interest in looking into the NFLPA’s benefits and retirement programs. In fact, for some strange reason, they seem to have consistently avoided or dissuaded any investigation or review of the entire plan. But one thing that just struck us as VERY odd: With everyone from Attorneys General all the way down the line to law office clerks, everyone but EVERYONE follows the CYA (Cover-Your-A**) Policy by always putting things in writing. It’s only when you don’t want any paper trail or accountability that you don’t write a letter.

So the question still remains: Who is Edward Simpkins in the Department of Labor and how did he get the task of calling Dave?

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Sandy
    March 16th, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    Edward Simpkins must be a real DOL employee as I received a call from him regarding a question I had about the new subsidy for COBRA. We are having trouble connecting as I keep missing his call.

    Sandy