Lee Zurik Investigation: Reed's income discrepancies abound - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Lee Zurik Investigation: Reed's income discrepancies abound

File photo of Walter Reed File photo of Walter Reed

Walter Reed's campaign spokesman says the 22nd Judicial District Attorney will investigate discrepancies we've found – discrepancies that could net Reed a larger retirement benefit than he deserves. The more we dig through records dealing with Reed, the more we find that the numbers just don't add up.

To help tell this story, we're going to do some math, using the numbers Reed typed out on his personal financial disclosure reports. It's the one he submits to the state every year; his signatures certify that the information is "true and correct."

As district attorney, Reed receives his salary from several sources. In 2012, he reported $49,074 from the state of Louisiana, $106,860 from the DA's office, $19,691 from St. Tammany Parish and $8,375 from Washington Parish. All totaled that year, Reed reported earning $184,000 through his job as district attorney.

But according to the Louisiana District Attorney Retirement System (LDARS), Reed earned much more: $221,473.45. That's a difference of $37,473.45 between what Reed told the Ethics Board he earned and what he reported to the retirement fund.

Reed campaign spokesman Morgan Stewart told us by email his "financial disclosure forms match what his W-2's and 1099's say" - which means the $184,000 would be the accurate number.

We found a discrepancy in 2013, too: $188,566 reported to the Ethics Board, $204,852.62 to LDARS. And we found big differences in his 2011 and 2010 income statements. Both years, the salary reported to LDARS was $12,000 higher than what Reed reported to the Ethics Board.

If in fact the salary to the Ethics Board turns out to be correct, it means Walter Reed could earn more in retirement than he deserves.

By our calculations, once Reed retires, he will earn $193,814 annually, for the rest of his life. But that figure is calculated with what may be inaccurate numbers. If you go by what Reed reported to the Ethics Board, his yearly retirement benefit would drop to $178,711.

Stewart told us Wednesday evening that "some of the data provided regarding the district attorney's retirement system has some apparent coding errors." He says the office is "investigating."

The District Attorney's Retirement Fund says the numbers they get come directly from Walter Reed's office.

For a local crime watchdog, the coding errors raise red flags.

"When you look at some of the public documents and look at some of the documents that you can get through online sources and through public records requests, the more you look at the paperwork and the documents, the more questions you have," said Metropolitan Crime Commission chief Rafael Goyeneche in an interview for our previous report. "Who's responsible for authoring these documents? The very person that's the subject of a federal investigation right now, the DA, Walter Reed."

This also raises questions about how much taxpayer money in St. Tammany and Washington parishes went to the DA Retirement Fund. Reed contributed to the fund based on the salary he submitted to the Ethics Board. But the office wrote the fund checks based on the higher salary - which means taxpayers could be on the hook for even more money.

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