King Advises Against ERB Money For Legal Costs

New Mexico – Attorney General Gary King says the Educational Retirement Board is not obligated to pay for private lawyers to defend pension board members who are sued.

King's office reached that conclusion in a legal opinion released Monday.

Former ERB chairman Bruce Malott incurred at least $300,000 in legal bills for a private lawyer representing him in lawsuits over failed investments and a pending federal investigation into public investments. A state-appointed attorney also is defending Malott.

The pension board adopted a policy earlier this year to provide for legal reimbursements, but Malott never requested any before he resigned in September.

ERB Executive Director Jan Goodwin said she expects the board to change its policy in response to the attorney general's legal opinion.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.