We recently got our hands on a list of some of the NFL and NFLPA’s assets as reported on their tax returns dating back from 2009. Like the earlier LM-2′s that the NFLPA is required to file annually with the Dept. of Labor each year, there are some very interesting items in this list. We’ve redlined some of the most interesting – and sometimes glaring – “assets,” many of which will need some explanation or serious investigation. (EDITOR’S NOTE: We believe our sources to be reliable and as always, if there’s anything in this document that needs correction, we would certainly invite the NFL and the NFLPA to open their books and correct us.) . Of course, how could any list be controversial if it didn’t include Gene Upshaw? First item on the list is the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan Trust (?!!), with escalating assets of $194,238,969 in 2008, up from $75,3003,713 in 2007. We can assume that based on this kind of growth that the fund probably broke $250 million in 2010! That’s a quarter of a BILLION dollars, folks! And the fund was obviously in place years before Upshaw left the building in 2009. Just exactly what IS the Player Health Reimbursement Plan and has anyone out there received any benefits from this fund? Or is it someone’s idea of a piggy bank that the $16 million came from for his estate? With assets like these sitting around, we’re questioning why they claimed to be out of cash to pay all the retired players with one check for their GLA Players Inc. lawsuit settlement. . Also interesting to note is that in 2009, the NFL Alumni Charities disclosed that they had no assets to report, yet as far back as 2003, their NFL Alumni Dire Need Charitable Trust had $1,230,857 in assets and it dropped to a paltry $131,702 in 2008! Yet the NFL Youth Football Fund (!) has seen its assets bounce from as high as $85,844,079 in 2007 to the last reported assets of $49,630,178 in 2009 – not pocket change. The NFL and the Union certainly seem more generous to everyone else EXCEPT their own retired players, especially when you contrast those generous assets to what was in the NFL Player Care Foundation coffers in 2009: $150,353! Now we understand why players like Dave were only reimbursed a few hundred dollars after his $50,000+ hip replacement surgery. In spite of all the press and fanfare about this great new program when it was first announced, they didn’t have enough to actually pay much out to anyone. It’s probably safe to assume that they paid more in salaries and management fees for the funds and pensions than they actually held and distributed to the players themselves! . One final point: Is it just us or are the NFL Employee Reciprocal Flexible Benefits Plan Trusts for most of the teams listed woefully underfunded? . . Here’s the list so far uploaded to Scribd for easier viewing and to make it downloadable. You can click on the FULL SCREEN button to enlarge it for easier navigation (hit the ESC key to close). You can also click the DOWNLOAD button to save a PDF copy for printing and reading later: NFL NFLPA Assets up to 2009 with Highlights .
As most of you already know, the class action lawsuit with Herb Adderley, Bernie Parrish, Walt Roberts et al vs. Players Inc. (NFLPA subsidiary) was temporarily suspended because of the sudden departure of Gene Upshaw. Sources tell us that the trial has now been officially re-scheduled for Oct. 20th.
After weeks of wrangling and pestering the Commissioner and everyone else who will listen, my attorney, John Hogan, finally got a letter from Paul Scott regarding the deductions taken from my monthly disability check. (Click on an image to enlarge it for easier reading.)
We’ve been staying in touch with Sharon Hawkins after posting the documentation on her husband, Wayne Hawkins’ denial of Benefits from the NFLPA. In recent years, Wayne has been battling dementia, brought on by concussions from his 11+ years playing in the NFL.
Sharon has just informed us that Wayne has been in the hospital for the past 3 days with renal failure and heart problems. A large number of players may well have had better quality of life in their retirement years if the NFLPA and the NFL had managed to look after their own – even just a little – by spending just a little of the billions that have gone through their hands over the years. We understand that Sharon – like so many NFL wives – has been struggling to make ends meet even as she continues to be Wayne’s primary caregiver over the years.
We’re posting the entire press release from Mike Ditka’s GridIron Greats that was put out to general release this morning. Gridiron Greats, in conjunction with OAA Orthopedic Specialists of Allentown, PA, have put together a new medical assistance program for retired, injured NFL players. Several players have already been flown in for evaluation and care through the assistance program which has been open for approximately two months already. And unlike the NFLPA’s so-called joint-replacement program that only covers hips, shoulders and knees, this program isn’t selective. What NFL player DOESN’T have neck and back problems? And concussions? (Read Tony Davis’ earlier comments about the NFLPA’s program by clicking HERE.)
Even more amazing is the fact that 50 players have already been flown in for this program and you have to wonder if the NFLPA’s current program – which is about to close at the end of July – has even seen 50 applications, let alone approved 50 players for benefits? And we wonder how Upshaw and the NFLPA are going to malign Mike Ditka and Gridiron Greats this time for doing something that they themselves should have done years ago.
Wow! It always seems so incredibly hard just getting what should be a very simple answer to a really simple question. But in their usual manner, the NFLPA always manages to make things ridiculously difficult. If you recall, all I wanted to know was why I wasn’t getting the net T&P Benefits I was granted earlier last month after my application had been approved (click HERE to read the earlier post). And my attorney, John Hogan, also wrote a formal request to inquire about the discrepancy. (I don’t want to get into the discrepancy of what they REALLY should be paying me on this post.) . (Click on each image to enlarge.) . . . And here’s the letter I got back late last week: . . We’ve just fax’ed in another letter to Paul Scott letting him – and the NFLPA – know once again that John Hogan is my attorney of record in this matter. John Hogan was, after all, the attorney who formally filed my recent request for my disability benefits during this last round of applications. DUH! . . There are Federal laws that mandate full disclosure of any and all deductions that are taken from paychecks and benefit payments. I certainly know that if I ran a business and I didn’t disclose deductions on a paycheck to an employee, the IRS would be probably be knocking at my door! . . Here’s a thought – Would everyone who has received any benefits from the NFLPA – whether it be pensions or benefits – please consider writing to them and asking the following questions:
How did you calculate my pension and/or benefits?
Were deductions taken from my pension and/or benefits?
How did you calculate the deductions taken from my pension and/or benefits?
We tend to overlook the fact that Gene Upshaw generally includes VP AFL-CIO as one of his credentials. Recently, we decided to go to the AFL-CIO website (click HERE to check them out) and went over to their Executive Council Members section and found this:
After 25 years of being wrongly denied disability for my family, The Groom Law Group came up with a new type of disability (called Inactive Total & Permanent – T&P) which only pays 35% of what I am actually qualified to receive (Football Degenerative T&P).
As I’m sure you are aware, I applied for the newly-offered plan this spring just before I went in for hip replacement surgery. On June 19, 2008 I was sent a letter from Paul Scott (Benefits Coordinator for the Retirement Board) stating that I was finally awarded Inactive T&P benefits (with reluctance, I’m sure). However, there appears to be little doubt that the NFLPA has once again short-changed my family. Instead of paying a benefit of $3,333.33 a month, I have only received $2,980.60 for each of the months of April, May and June 2008 and only $606.13 for July so far (which actually represents my miserly NFLPA early retirement pension). They are short-changing my family $352.73 a month. As I’ve been on Social Security Disability since 2004, there should be absolutely no deductions or withholding whatsoever. I have written letters to both Paul Scott and Gene Upshaw asking for the calculations involved to arrive at this reduced amount but my requests continue to fall on deaf ears.
We still haven’t figured out if Gene Upshaw is just plain arrogant or just plain ignorant of the law. Maybe it’s a bit of both after all these years of running unchecked as head of the NFLPA and an officer of the AFL-CIO. And sometimes, there are so many flagrant violations – legal and otherwise – most of us tend to glaze over and miss most of them.
That was the case from way back in February when The Washington Post’s Michael Leahy wrote his piece The Pain Game (click to read the entire piece). But first, a little bit of background: In all of my requests to the NFL and the NFLPA, as well as to their attorneys – The Groom Law Group and Akin Gump – for documents pertaining to my case as well as general documents on the disability plans, there’s always more redacting on every page than a Watergate investigation. And all of it is supposedly done in the name of privacy and confidentiality in “protecting the names and personal information” of those who have applied for benefits.
Wayne Hawkins put in an incredible 11 years for the NFL, at one point as a teammate with Gene Upshaw as an offensive lineman with the Raiders. Sadly, that’s where the term ‘Team’ ended. While Upshaw went on to become the omnipotent head of the Union, Wayne has been deteriorating physically and mentally as a direct result of the severe injuries he suffered from his NFL career.
At the urging of Disability Attorney, John Hogan, Wayne’s wife, Sharon, recently filed an application for his T&P Disability Benefits. Sharon was gracious enough to allow us to publish her letter to the Review Board. The Hawkins have been good friends and embody everything dignified. Her letter would sway any normal human being with a heart.
There’s an old saying that the definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and over again thinking that the results are going to be different. You would think that with as many people from inside and outside sources telling him to keep his mouth shut, Gene Upshaw would finally learn to keep his mouth shut. Every time he opens it, his foot seems to have a nasty habit of ending up in there. But after years of running wild with no interference, Upshaw seems to be at a point in his life where he’s above it all; he knows everything and heaven help anyone who disagrees with him. He knows the law, he knows business and he understands how to stay in power at all costs.
My Disability Attorney, John Hogan, received a letter dated June 19, 2008 from Paul Scott, the Benefits Coordinator from the NFLPA’s Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. The letter states that the Committee qualified me to receive Inactive Total & Permanent (T&P) Disability Benefits (which is supposed to amount to $40,000 a year – or $3,333.33 a month – according to the NFLPA’s published retirement benefits program) retroactive to April 1, 2008 (?!!). My request for Football Degenerative Benefits have been tabled and it is clear that all my documentation was not considered. They only looked at my favorable Social Security award in 2004 and disregarded the fact that I was wrongly denied in 1995.
Yet, Paul Scott’s letter states that my monthly benefit will be $2,980.60 with a retroactive payment of $7,123.41 to cover April, May and June which works out to $2,374.47 a month (?!!). Got that? And since they have a standing order not to take any deductions, 3 months should actually amount to $10,000, NOT $7,123.41! Sheesh!