One of our readers has posted a comment that raises a very serious questions about the legitimacy of State Senator John Benoit's disability retirement.
As we reported last week, John Benoit makes $98,600 in retirement each year from his time with the CHP, but a large portion of that money is tax free because Benoit contracted skin cancer on the job. Senator Benoit is also a critic of public employees pensions, but when the LA Times wanted to talk to him about his retirement package, Benoit refused to comment.
A reader going by the name "Stop Benoit" states that we didn't quite get the story right.
"You're missing the point about John Benoit's disability retirement. He did get it for skin cancer but he also filed suits against the state for hearing loss and knee damage he claims he got on the job.
The claims were bogus. Benoit dropped them once he got his disability claim for skin cancer granted. The attached video proves they were fraudulent claims since he was playing softball in Sacramento on the knees he said were "permanently damaged!""
We're not sure about this, but since "Stop Benoit" included a pretty humorous You Tube video used against Benoit in the 2008 Senate race we felt inclined to include it for you.
Although this commercial is quite funny and appears to be well documented it obviously did little to stop Benoit from trouncing his hapless rival Russ Bogh in the Republican Primary last year. And the website stated at the end of the commercial, no longer seems to be in existence.
But it does raise a very serious ethical and legal question.
Did John Benoit try and game the system he profits from as a retiree but attacks as a legislator by submitting three disability claims, as "Stop Benoit" alleges?
The documentation does seem to indicate Benoit at least filed a claim for injuries to his knees. How that happened we're not quite sure, but can probably come up with some good jokes about him being close to Neil and Bob (Lingle and Doyle that is! Get your mind out of the gutters, dear readers!).
But did Benoit also continue to play softball on these injured knees? The photo with the Republican softball team would make one draw this conclusion.
Does Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger know about this video? If so, does that explain another complication in the appointment of John Benoit to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors?
If anyone has additional information about John Benoit's disability claims, we'd appreciate the information. Since we are now moderating comments to prevent SPAM, you can post your tips in the comments section with a note saying "NOT FOR PUBLICATION." We will honor your wishes if you have such tips for us and then follow up on them.