Salem, OR—On behalf of the state of Oregon and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, State Treasurer Tobias Read and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum called for immediate action from the boards of directors of two companies that operate detention centers under contracts with the federal government.
In shareholder demand letters to the board chairs of CoreCivic and GEO Group, Treasurer Read and Attorney General Rosenblum cited concerns about health and safety along with specific instances in which the boards of directors have neglected their fiduciary duties, leading to actions that threaten both short- and long-term profitability for shareholders such as the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund. The letters go on to call for specific changes to be implemented to remedy operations that pose risks to shareholders.
“As shareholders, it’s incumbent upon us to speak up when company boards are not meeting their fiduciary responsibilities,” said Treasurer Read. “Especially when we see such egregious failure in board oversight, we must use our voice and platform to push boards to make positive changes that improve business practices while reducing investment risks.”
“We have significant legal concerns about the mistreatment of individuals detained in facilities run by GEO Group and CoreCivic—in particular the denial of detainees’ basic needs and the unsafe conditions in which they are being forced to live,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “I look forward to prompt and meaningful engagement with the boards of both companies to address both the business impacts and the dangers to detainees.”
The Oregon State Treasury manages OPERF on behalf of nearly 375,000 current and former public employees and their beneficiaries. The $81 billion fund includes more than 47,500 shares of CoreCivic and more than 48,000 shares of GEO Group. The Oregon Investment Council formulates policies for the investment of OPERF, and the State Treasurer is the investment officer for the Oregon Investment Council. As a large, institutional investor, the State of Oregon may influence positive changes in corporate governance and decision-making that lead to strengthening returns for plan participants, retirees, and beneficiaries.
After documenting violations of health and safety standards and serious concerns about labor practices, both letters enumerate corrective actions the boards of directors must take to remedy the breaches of fiduciary duty. These actions include ensuring compliance with contractual and legal obligations; ending inhumane solitary confinement practices; and improving transparency. Further, the letter to the GEO Group board includes a demand for books or records to assist in refining the state’s requests for corrective actions.
Click to read the GEO Group and CoreCivic letters: https://www.oregon.gov/treasury/news-data/pages/tr...
About Oregon State Treasury
The Oregon State Treasury protects public assets, saves money, and helps Oregonians invest in themselves and their families through empowerment programs like the Oregon College Savings Plan, Oregon ABLE Savings Plan, and OregonSaves. Led by State Treasurer Tobias Read, Treasury oversees public investment, banking, and debt management services. State investment policies are set by the Oregon Investment Council. Treasury also promotes public outreach and education to help Oregonians learn strategies to save money and make smart financial choices.
About Oregon Department of Justice
The Oregon Department of Justice is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors. The Oregon DOJ has nine divisions, ranging from Criminal Justice to Child Support.