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Hempfield files suit seeking to recover pension overpayments

Paul Peirce
| Saturday, May 5, 2012, 3:37 a.m.

Hempfield Township supervisors are asking a Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court judge to force two former employees to repay more than $23,600 in pension overpayments.

A township lawsuit seeks to force former Supervisor Donald C. DeNezza, who was an employee between July 13, 1975, and Jan. 2, 1994, to repay $15,210 it claims he was overpaid after he left office.

The lawsuit alleges DeNezza's monthly pension benefit was supposed to be reduced from $1,313 to $469 after he turned 62 on March 13, 2003.

However, the lawsuit alleges DeNezza continued to receive the higher pension payout until the error was discovered in October 2004.

In a separate lawsuit, the township alleges its former zoning officer, Nicholas Rullo, also owes the township $8,400 in pension overpayments.

According to the lawsuit, Rullo was employed from July 5, 1989, until July 31, 1996. The benefit plan that Rullo chose required his monthly benefit to be reduced from $640 a month to $80 a month when he turned 62 after June 9, 2003.

However, the lawsuit alleges that Rullo continued to receive the overpayments until the error was discovered in October 2004.

DeNezza and Rullo declined comment on the lawsuit when contacted yesterday.

Last fall, former township treasurer and authority manager Gerald Answine repaid the township $2,865 in pension overpayments to avoid further litigation.

In addition to the overpayments, the township is seeking interest plus cost of the litigation.

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