COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A member kicked out from overseeing Ohio’s teacher retirement system is now taking his former pension board and the governor to court.
Investment expert Wade Steen filed a lawsuit in the Tenth District Court of Appeals naming the other members of the State Teachers Retirement Board as well as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine as defendants. The complaint document drafted by Steen’s attorney accused them of one charge of usurpation of office, and disputes claims that he wasn’t regularly attending board meetings, resulting in DeWine replacing him with G. Brent Bishop.
Steen was vocal in calling for changes to STRS — earning support from a teacher’s watchdog group — after the system controversially paid out $10 million in investment staff bonuses in a fiscal year ending in June 2022. In the same period, its pension fund for teachers lost over $5 billion. More recently in April, STRS proposed setting aside another $11.1 million for performance-based bonuses for the staff in 2024 — a 30.6% increase from the prior year’s incentives.
“I do know that I’ve asked a lot of questions about benchmarks, about performance, about our investments and alternatives,” Steen previously told NBC4. “Our investments in hedge funds, the amount of fees we pay, the performance we get, have all raised questions.”
On his removal from office, the lawsuit document said DeWine overstepped his authority as governor, and Steen was denied due process. He has previously denied the idea that his attendance would be an issue with the board.
“If you look at my attendance over the seven years, it’s as good, if not better than, others,” Steen countered. “Have I missed a couple of meetings in the last six months? Yes, I have. I’m not going to deny that. Have I had to attend some remotely? Yes, I have, as have other board members.”
Read the initially filed complaint in Steen’s lawsuit by clicking here.