John B. Barranco, the former education official under criminal investigation for allegedly siphoning more than $10 million from a Merrimack Valley agency for special needs children, will begin collecting his $10,000 monthly teachers pension again, at least temporarily, after a decision reached last week by a Middlesex Superior Court judge.
The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System had cut off Barranco’s pension checks in October 2011, concluding that he had already collected more than $750,000 in pension funds he was not entitled to receive. At the time, the board said it would withhold Barranco’s pension for 6½ years to recoup the money.
But Judge Kenneth V. Desmond Jr. ruled Feb. 19 that the 70-year-old Barranco should get a lump sum of $157,000 in addition to his monthly pension payment until his appeal of the retirement system’s action is resolved, a process Barranco’s attorney said is unlikely to begin before 2015.
Sean P. Neilon, spokesman for the retirement system, expressed “deep disappointment” at Desmond’s decision.
“We believe that our case is very strong and that Mr. Barranco will have to repay the earnings that exceeded the statutory limits,” Neilon said.
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