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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator John Sparks
Senate District 16
Cleveland and McClain Counties

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For Immediate Release: March 3, 2008

Sen. John Sparks
Sen. John Sparks

Senator Sparks Files WorldCom Settlement Amendment

Norman Senator Says 11.7 Million Should be Returned to State Pension Funds

Senator John Sparks (D-Norman) said today he has filed an amendment that would invest an $11.7 million WorldCom settlement into Oklahoma’s ailing pension funds.

“I’ve filed this amendment because it is the responsible thing to do for Oklahoma families. Our state retirement systems are under-funded and lost about $66 million from the criminal misconduct of former WorldCom officers,” Sparks said. “We should pay the $11.7 million back to our state retirement and pension systems to help compensate them for those monumental losses.”

He amended a public finance bill, Senate Bill 1868, authored by Senator Mike Johnson (R-Kingfisher).

“My amendment will transfer these settlement monies to the retirement systems and the other state agencies that were harmed as a result of the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history,” Sparks said. “Hard working Oklahomans should not be held hostage by the unethical practices of wealthy corporations.”

With assets in excess of $100 billion at one point, WorldCom filed bankruptcy in July 2002 leaving all of Oklahoma’s public pension systems and a handful of state agencies with heavy losses.

Sparks said the Attorney General settled fraud charges with WorldCom, which agreed to create 1,600 jobs in Oklahoma. Last year, however, an $11.7 million settlement was reached in lieu of the jobs with Verizon Communications, WorldCom’s successor company.

For more information contact:
Senator Sparks' Office:  (405) 521-5553

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