The Times Publishing Co. was slapped with liens by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. for $30.5 million in missed pension fund contributions and related interest and penalties, according to a Pensions & Investments story on Tuesday.
The defined benefit plan had $105.4 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2013, and was 70.7% funded. The plan was frozen as of March 31, 2009, and covers workers employed before January 2005. On May 30, 2013, the IRS reduced the company’s annual minimum required contributions to $1.4 million from $5.4 million, to satisfy 2011 minimum funding requirements.
Then in July 2014, the IRS issued a funding waiver for the 2013 plan year, allowing the company to contribute $1.39 million to meet minimum funding requirements. The $30.5 million represents missed contributions beyond these minimum payments, plus interest and penalties.
Jana Jones, Times Publishing’s chief financial officer, said in a statement to Pensions & Investments that permission to delay contributions was granted during the economic recession and recovery. “Related to those approvals, the Times agreed to provide collateral to the PBGC. These liens are part of this process,” Jones said.
“The assets in the Times plan exceed $100 million — considerably higher than the balance when the Times first received permission to delay contributions,” she said. “Meanwhile, we continue to have constructive conversations with the PBGC about an orderly payment plan.”
The liens, filed June 26, were also filed against The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Times Holding, Trend Magazines, and Tampa Bay Newspapers, all of which are associated with the Times Publishing Co. pension plan.