Desert Troon Ltd. LLC, a real estate manager and developer, is suing four former employees of the $7.8 billion Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, alleging they have made false statements defaming the firm and senior officials at the Phoenix-based pension fund.
The lawsuit, filed May 2 in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, claims that former PSPRS investment officers Anton Orlich, Paul Corens and Mark Selfridge — along with Andrew Carriker, the former chief investment counsel — have communicated with members of the press since last August.
Based on that communication, the suit alleges both Pensions & Investments and the Arizona Republic, a daily newspaper, have published articles containing false statements that “appear to derive, at least in part, from information or records improperly taken from PSPRS.”
In various communications, including a report presented to the PSPRS board and in resignation letters, the four had maintained that PSPRS had improperly inflated Desert Troon's investment returns since mid-2009 by misrepresenting the value of its real estate investments made with the pension fund's money.
Mr. Selfridge said Monday that the charges against him were “false and retaliatory.” He declined to comment further. Messrs. Orlich, Corens and Carriker did not return phone calls by press time.
PSPRS maintained in an earlier lawsuit that Mr. Orlich improperly took records from PSPRS; Mr. Orlich contends he had permission to take the records.
The lawsuit by Desert Troon contends that at least one nationally recognized institutional investor/financing source has declined to move forward on a potential investment relationship with Desert Troon because of the four men's post-employment conduct.
The lawsuit does not identify the firm and William A. Richards, an attorney with Baskin Richards, which filed the suit on behalf of Desert Troon, did not return a phone call seeking additional details.