A retired union lobbyist from Illinois who worked a single, solitary day as a substitute teacher is suing the state’s teacher retirement system for a $36,000 annual pension he says he is due.
David Piccioli worked as a lobbyist for the Illinois Federation of Teachers from 1997 until his Dec. 31, 2012 retirement.
For one day in April 2007, Piccioli contributed to America’s youth by substitute teaching at the Springfield, Ill. school district.
That selfless contribution allowed Piccioli to take advantage of a loophole signed into law Feb. 27, 2007, by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich — a heavily union-backed Democrat.
The law allowed teachers — including one-day subs — to retroactively purchase service credits which would go towards their retirement annuities. By doing so, Piccioli could tap into that generous retirement system with only one day of service.
According to the Chicago Tribune, which broke news of Piccioli’s sweet deal back in 2012, the former union lobbyist already receives a $31,485 pension from the Teachers Retirement System.
Because of the money he paid in to take advantage of the loophole, Piccioli could potentially increase his annual take by $36,000, the Tribune estimated.
That comes on top of another pension Piccioli receives — worth over $30,000 — for his service as a state House legislative aide. He worked for a Democrat.
Piccioli’s pension payouts are based on his six-figure salary as a union lobbyist.
Piccioi’s pension set-up was rendered null-and-void when then-Gov. Pat Quinn, also a Democrat, signed a Jan. 5, 2012, law to close the loophole.
But in his suit, Piccioli claims he followed the letter of the 2007 law and should have those benefits restored.
Piccioli’s attorney, Carl Draper, told the Tribune that his client “did what the law allowed and in good faith.”
He cites a state law stating that pension benefits cannot be “diminished or impaired.”