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Plan Sues Tremont, Others Over Madoff Losses

January 5, 2009
Tops Personnel Inc. Group Defined Pension Plan & Trust has filed suit against Tremont Group Holdings and various subsidiaries, Oppenheimer Acquisition Corp. and parent Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. over losses tied to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

Tremont’s auditor, Ernst & Young, also was named in the suit filed December 31, which seeks class-action status.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, stems from the approximately 25 percent loss by the Tops plan from investments totaling $400,000 in the Tremont Market Neutral Fund and Tremont Long/Short Equity Portfolio. Both funds invested in a strategy managed by Madoff, according to court documents.

The suit accuses Mass Mutual, Tremont Partners and Oppenheimer of fraud and unjust enrichment, and that Tremont breached its fiduciary duty and is liable for Tops’ losses as the direct supervisor of the investments of its hedge fund of funds.

“What we expect to reveal is that the king has no clothes,” said Fred S. Longer, a partner at Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, one of the law firms representing Tops Personnel. “We expect to find a lack of due diligence with regard to investment in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and poor investigative practices by Tremont. As a result, my client was placed in an inappropriate investment,” Longer said.

Representatives of Tremont, Oppenheimer and Ernst & Young did not return calls and e-mail requests for comment. James Lacey, a spokesman for Massachusetts Mutual, declined to comment because the company had not yet reviewed the suit.

The size of the Tops plan could not be immediately learned. Officials at Tops could not be reached.

Filed by Christine Williamson of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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