Savannah, Georgia - Thanks to a legal loophole, former Savannah-Chatham County Police Chief Willie Lovett will collect nearly a million dollars in pension payments while he is in jail. Lovett was recently convicted of extortion and illegal gambling and was sentenced to 7 ½ years in federal prison.
In 1985 the state passed a law that would allow them to revoke the pensions of government employees who are convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, this law only applied to employees hired after the law went into effect, and Lovett had already been with the department for a number of years, so the law does not apply to him.
"The simple answer is it's basically a contract issue. You cannot change the rules to their detriment," Amy Henderson, spokeswoman for the Georgia Municipal Association explained.
During his 7 ½ years in prison, Lovett will collect roughly $130,000 per year, totaling more than $970,000 before taxes.
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However, a group of city council members and concerned citizens are pushing for legal intervention into the issue.
"We all agree, as does the community, that this is a miscarriage of justice. For him to get such a huge pension is just incredibly troubling," City Council member Mary Ellen Sprague told reporters.
Lovett was found guilty earlier this month of extorting local carnival operators out of roughly $70,000, in a scheme where the police department provided protection for an illegal gambling business. The arrangement allegedly took place over the course of many years.
Due to his 41 years with the police department, Lovett will be receiving the largest pension that the city of Savannah has ever paid to a state employee.
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John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.