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Notice

Grant of Individual Exemption To Replace Prohibited Transaction Exemptions (PTEs) 81-56, 85-19 and 89-5, Involving the Truman Arnold Companies Retirement Plan and Trust (the Plan) Located in Texarkana, TX

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION:

Grant of individual exemption to replace PTEs 81-56, 85-19 and 89-5.

SUMMARY:

This document contains a final exemption before the Department of Labor (the Department) which will replace PTEs 81-56 (46 FR 36273, July 17, 1981), 85-19 (50 FR 3045, January 23, 1985) and 89-5 (54 FR 4348, January 30, 1989). These are individual exemptions (the Prior Exemptions) that were previously issued by the Department to the Truman Arnold Companies, a party in interest with respect to the Plan. Each of the Prior Exemptions permitted the Employer to contribute and/or lease from the Plan certain improved real property under the provisions of three distinct written leases.

The final exemption incorporates many of the facts and representations contained in the Prior Exemptions and updates information to the extent there have been changes. Because it appears that PTE 81-56 expired on September 30, 1999 and the parties have not been covered by an administrative exemption since that time, the final exemption provides retroactive exemptive relief from October 1, 1999 until September 30, 2002. In addition, to resolve uncertainty regarding the expiration dates of the leases described in PTE 81-56 and PTE 85-19, the exemption merges the leases, along with the lease described in PTE 89-5, under a new master lease (the Master Lease) and provides retroactive exemptive relief, effective October 1, 2002, with respect to such past and continued lease arrangements.

Further, the final exemption permits the replacement of AmSouth Bank, the Plan's former independent fiduciary, with Regions Bank, the Plan's current trustee. Thus, the exemption affects participants and beneficiaries of the Plan, as well as Plan fiduciaries.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This exemption is effective from October 1, 1999 until September 30, 2002 with respect to the leasing arrangement described in PTE 81-56. In addition, this exemption applies retroactively from October 1, 2002 with respect to the consolidation of the properties described in the Prior Exemptions under the Master Lease.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Jan D. Broady, Office of Exemption Determinations, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, telephone (202) 693-8556. (This is not a toll-free number.)

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On February 6, 2003, the Department published a notice of proposed exemption in the Federal Register at 68 FR 6205. The proposed exemption would replace PTEs 81-56, 85-19 and 89-5. The Prior Exemptions provided exemptive relief from the prohibited transaction restrictions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (the Act) and from the sanctions resulting from the application of section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the Code).

The proposed exemption was requested in an application filed on behalf of the Plan pursuant to section 408(a) of the Act and section 4975(c)(2) of the Code, and in accordance with the procedures set forth in 29 CFR part 2570, subpart B (55 FR 32836, August 10, 1990). Effective December 31, 1978, section 102 of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1978 (43 FR 47713, October 17, 1978) transferred the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to issue exemptions of the type requested to the Secretary of Labor. Accordingly, this exemption is being issued solely by the Department.

The proposed exemption gave interested persons an opportunity to comment and to request a hearing. In this regard, all interested persons were invited to submit written comments or requests for a hearing on the pending exemption on or before March 24, 2003. All comments were to be made a part of the record. During the comment period, the Department received no written comments or requests for a public hearing.

For further information regarding the exemption application or other matters discussed therein, interested persons are encouraged to obtain copies of the exemption application file (Exemption Application No. D-11059) the Department is maintaining in this case. The complete application file, as well as all supplemental submissions received by the Department are made available for public inspection in the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N-1513, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

Accordingly, after giving full consideration to the entire record, the Department has decided to grant the exemption.

General Information

The attention of interested persons is directed to the following:

(1) The fact that a transaction is the subject of an exemption under section 408(a) of the Act and section 4975(c)(2) of the Code does not relieve a fiduciary or other party in interest or disqualified person from certain other provisions of the Act and Code, including any prohibited transaction provisions to which the exemption does not apply and the general fiduciary responsibility provisions of section 404 of the Act, which require, among other things, a fiduciary to discharge his or her duties respecting the plan solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries of the plan and in a prudent fashion in accordance with section 404(a)(1)(B) of Start Printed Page 18711the Act; nor does it affect the requirements of section 401(a) of the Code that the plan operate for the exclusive benefit of the employees of the employer maintaining the plan and their beneficiaries;

(2) The exemption does not extend to transactions prohibited under section 406(b)(3) of the Act and section 4975(c)(1)(F) of the Code;

(3) In accordance with section 408(a) of the Act, section 4975(c)(2) of the Code, and the procedures set forth in 29 CFR 2570, subpart B (55 FR 32836, August 10, 1990), the Department finds that the exemption is administratively feasible, in the interest of the plan and of its participants and beneficiaries and protective of the rights of participants and beneficiaries of the plan;

(4) The exemption is supplemental to, and not in derogation of, any other provisions of the Act and the Code, including administrative exemptions. Furthermore, the fact that a transaction is subject to an administrative exemption is not dispositive of whether the transaction is in fact a prohibited transaction; and

(5) This exemption is subject to the express condition that the facts and representations set forth in the notices of proposed exemption relating to PTEs 81-56, 85-19, 89-5 and this notice, accurately describe, where relevant, the material terms of the Master Lease transaction consummated pursuant to this exemption.

Exemption

Under the authority of section 408(a) of the Act and section 4975(c)(2) of the Code and in accordance with the procedures set forth in 29 CFR part 2570, subpart B (55 FR 32836, August 10, 1990), the Department hereby amends and replaces PTEs 81-56, 85-19 and 89-5. Accordingly, the restrictions of sections 406(a), 406(b)(1) and (b)(2) of the Act and the sanctions resulting from the application of section 4975 of the Code, by reason of section 4975(c)(1)(A) through (E) of the Code, shall not apply (1) effective October 1, 1999 until September 30, 2002, to the leasing by the Plan of a parcel of real property and the improvements thereon (the New Facilities Property), as described in Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 81-56 (46 FR 36273, July 17, 1981), to the Truman Arnold Companies, Inc. (the Employer), a party in interest with respect to the Plan; and (2) effective October 1, 2002, to the leasing, by the Plan to the Employer, under the provisions of a master lease (the Master Lease) of the New Facilities Property, another parcel of real property and the improvements comprising the Employer's headquarters (the Home Site Property), as described in PTE 85-19 (50 FR 3045, January 23, 1985), and two buildings (the Buildings) constructed on the Home Site Property and described in PTE 89-5 (54 FR 4348, January 30, 1989). (The New Facilities Property, the Home Site Property and the Buildings are collectively referred to herein as the “Properties.”)

This exemption is subject to the following conditions:

(a) The terms of the Master Lease remain at least as favorable to the Plan as those obtainable in an arm's length transaction with an unrelated party.

(b) The Employer is obligated under the terms of the Master Lease for expenses incurred by the Properties, including taxes and assessments, maintenance, insurance and utilities.

(c) The interests of the Plan with regard to the Master Lease are, at all times, represented by an independent fiduciary. Such independent fiduciary—

(i) Represents the interests of the Plan for the remaining duration of the Master Lease;

(ii) Monitors the terms and conditions of the Master Lease on behalf of the Plan;

(iii) Enforces compliance with all conditions of the Master Lease;

(iv) Ensures that the Master Lease remains in the best interest of the Plan and protective of the Plan's participants and beneficiaries;

(v) Following review and evaluation of the Master Lease, determines that the retention of the Properties by the Plan and the continued leasing of such Properties to the Employer are in the best interest of the Plan and its participants and beneficiaries;

(vi) Adjusts the rental rate under the Master Lease every third year such lease is in effect based upon independent appraisals of the Properties and ensures that the rentals equal the greater of 14 percent of the fair market value of the Properties or the prior rental amounts paid; and

(vii) Takes all actions that are necessary and proper to enforce and protect the rights of the Plan and its participants and beneficiaries.

(d) The rental rate under the Master Lease, during its initial term and each renewal term remains at 14 percent of the fair market value of the Properties, which amount is not less than the current fair market value of such Properties;

(e) The aggregate fair market value of the Properties that are subject to the Master Lease, at no time, exceeds 25 percent of the Plan's assets.

For a more complete statement of the facts and representations supporting the Department's decision to grant the Prior Exemptions and this final exemption, refer to the proposed exemptions and their respective grant notices which are cited above.

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Signed at Washington, DC, this 11th day of April, 2003.

Ivan L. Strasfeld,

Director of Exemption Determinations, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

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[FR Doc. 03-9354 Filed 4-15-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-29-M