The PBGC filed liens against the Times Publishing Co., for $30.5 million in missed pension fund contributions and related interest and penalties.
The liens, filed June 26, were also filed against The Poynter Institute for Media Studies Inc., Times Holding Co., Trend Magazines Inc. and Tampa Bay Newspapers Inc., all of which are associated with the Times Publishing Co. Pension Plan.
The defined benefit plan had $105.4 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2013, and was 70.7% funded, according to its most recent Form 5500 filing. The plan was frozen as of March 31, 2009, and covers people employed before January 2005, according to the 5500.
On May 30, 2013, the IRS reduced the company's annual minimum required contributions to $1.4 million from $5.4 million, to satisfy 2011 minimum funding requirements, according to the company's 2013 financial statement filed with its Form 5500. In July 2014, the IRS issued a funding waiver for the 2013 plan year, allowing the company to contribute $1.39 million to meet minimum funding requirements. The $30.5 million represents missed contributions beyond these minimum payments, plus interest and penalties.
PBGC spokesman Marc Hopkins said the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has filed liens against roughly 200 plan sponsors and associated entities for missed contributions.
Jana Jones, Times Publishing Co. vice president and chief financial officer, said in a statement that permission to delay contributions was granted during the economic recession and recovery. “Related to those approvals, the Times agreed to provide collateral to the PBGC. These liens are part of this process,” Ms. Jones said.
“Members of the pension plan have no reason for alarm about the payment of their benefits. The assets in the Times plan exceed $100 million — considerably higher than the balance when the Times first received permission to delay contributions. Meanwhile, we continue to have constructive conversations with the PBGC about an orderly payment plan,” Ms. Jones said in the statement.