Trustees of the North Orange County Community College District this week placed $16.5 million in a special retirement benefits fund.
The money came from a Beverly Hills developer who bought 173 acres of mostly vacant land from the district four months ago.
District Chancellor Tom K. Harris said the money in the fund, placed there on a unanimous vote of the trustees Tuesday, will collect interest that will foot the $1.5 million estimated annual cost of retirement benefits. He said the goal is to have $30 million in the fund. In the past, trustees have used general fund money to pay for the health insurance of its retired employees.
Now more money will be available in the general fund, Harris said. He added that his district is only one of a handful in the state that offer health benefits to retirees.
The fund is the latest good financial news for the district, which earlier this month settled a lawsuit in which it will become the first agency--of the nearly 200 in the county's ill-fated investment pool--to recover all of its losses. The district filed suit against LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, the New York law firm that served as "bond counsel" on more than $1 billion in borrowings. The firm will pay the district $10.2 million.
That figure is in addition to $2.5 million that the district already has received as its share in another bankruptcy-related settlement.