Lost letter could cost Illinois worker nearly $1 million in retirement

Illinois

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (WGN) — The holiday rush may be over, but reports about the postal service’s troubles continue.

A former Cook County sheriff’s officer said a postal delay hit him hard. Dan Moreci spent 30 years with the sheriff’s office before retiring last April.

Dan Moreci

At the time, the county’s pension fund told him he was eligible to receive a monthly annuity of $7,576, a figure that included additional sick time that Moreci could purchase with money he had saved in a deferred compensation plan.

Amid the pandemic, the office that processes the deferred compensation paperwork was closed, so Moreci sent his documents through the mail.

But because of postal delays, it was not processed within 30 days, as was required.

As a result, Moreci was no longer eligible to purchase that additional service time, reducing his monthly annuity by 38% to $4,693. If he lives to be 80, that difference will have cost him nearly $1 million.

“At the time, I didn’t know there was a problem with the mail,” he said.

The pension fund told him they must abide by state law and can’t make an exception, not even because of the COVID-19 outbreak. But Moreci said he’s not giving up and has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, hoping a judge will rule in his favor.

In an email, the pension fund’s executive director said, “While we sympathize with Daniel Moreci in his effort to mail a check to the Cook County Pension Fund, the Fund had no choice but to act as it did because of state law.”

She added, “The code is clear that the Pension Fund must receive payment for the purchase of additional service credit within 30 days after the participant ends his employment with the county.  In this case, the Pension Fund did not receive Mr. Moreci’s payment within 30 days.  The Board, of course, will abide by any Court order in this matter.”

In the meantime, while he awaits a judge’s ruling, Moreci works as a handyman to make ends meet.

Moreci is not alone in terms of mail trouble. Illinois residents filed a total of 15,861 claims involving lost mail through the first 11 months of last year.

To settle those claims, the U.S. Postal Service paid more than $1.2 million, according to data obtained by WGN.

“[It’s] an utter lack of professionalism to have those numbers just here in our state,” said Alderman Matt O’Shea.

Amid ongoing reports of spotty delivery and poor service, he and other local politicians have been calling on Congressional leaders to help fix the problem, but progress has been slow.

In response, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said: “As the holiday inventory continues to drop, the Postal Service fully anticipates improvements in performance. Recent snow accumulation in our region has also been a challenge in transporting mail and delivery.” 

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News