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South Carolina high court drops suit retirement commission brought in spat with treasurer

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Curtis M. Loftis Jr.

The South Carolina Supreme Court late Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission against state Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis Jr.

The investment commission sought to “permanently enjoin” Mr. Loftis to “perform and comply with his ministerial duties as custodian of the funds of the retirement system,” as well as to fund a capital call for Warburg Pincus XI Partners, according to court documents.

Mr. Loftis did authorize the $11.7 million capital call on April 15. Lawyers for the investment commission asked the court to direct Mr. Loftis to stop what it called his “unlawful conduct” and to fund “lawful investment decisions as custodian.”

The five justices dismissed the case because the “entire content of the commission's petition and its attachments concern the funding” of the Warburg Pincus commitment. “In our view, once (Mr.) Loftis agreed to perform the precise act sought in the petition … there was simply nothing left for the court to order,” according to their ruling.

The commission is responsible for investments of the $26.6 billion South Carolina Retirement Systems, Columbia. As treasurer, Mr. Loftis is the custodian of system and a member of the investment commission.

“I thank the Supreme Court for their attention to this matter and their prompt decision to dismiss the petition filed by the South Carolina Investment Commission. As the custodian of the retirement systems … I will continue my efforts to safe-keep the assets,” Mr. Loftis said in a statement.

Darry Oliver, chief operating officer of the commission, said in a statement: “The court's decision was based on the fact that the state treasurer finally performed on April 15, 2013, the custodial task that the commission had properly requested two weeks earlier on April 1, 2013. … We regret having to initiate this action but are very pleased that a default was avoided.”