Federal agency sues former Orange County Register owners over handling of pension program


A federal agency is suing former Orange County Register owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz over their handling of Freedom Communication’s pension program, alleging the executives made “ill-advised, speculative investments” that resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a U.S. government agency that insures pension plans, filed a lawsuit Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court’s California Central District, Southern Division, alleging breach of fiduciary duties, engaging in prohibited transactions, and knowing participation in breach of fiduciary duties in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The lawsuit alleges Kushner and Spitz “failed to act prudently” in four investments, including one in which the pair “lost millions of dollars of pension plan assets by causing the pension plan to buy stock in Freedom when they knew that the company was in financial distress.”


Kushner and Spitz both declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Kushner and Spitz formerly co-owned Freedom Communications and its collection of newspapers, which included the Register. Freedom filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015.

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