Judge Jeffrey B. Barton just announced that he will issue tomorrow at 4 p.m. his tentative ruling on City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s lawsuit challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in employee pension benefits.

It was thought Barton would issue the ruling today or tomorrow. Aguirre and attorneys for the pension system will have an opportunity to argue Barton’s ruling in court on Monday morning at 9 a.m. After that, a final ruling will be issued.

Aguirre hopes to halve the $1.4 billion pension deficit by convincing the court that pension deals in 1996 and 2002 were illegal and the benefits created in those deals are void. He argues that pension officials had a conflict-of-interest in creating the deals. He also claims the benefits are illegal because they violate a provision in state law that forbids governments from creating debt without identifying a way to pay for it.

Attorneys for the pension system and employee unions say the deals were valid and the benefits are constitutionally protected.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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