High court rules against retired firefighter in pension case

February 20, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled against a retired Providence firefighter who had his disability pension discontinued after he was caught on camera lifting heavy weights.

The decision handed down Tuesday reverses a lower court ruling restoring John Sauro’s $3,900-a-month, tax-free accidental disability benefit which Providence’s retirement board discontinued in 2015.

Sauro retired in 2000 after suffering an on-duty shoulder injury in 1999, but his lucrative pension was called into question after WPRI-TV captured him vigorously exercising several times a week at a local gym in 2011.

Deputy City Solicitor Ken Chiavarini told WPRI-TV the city hasn’t decided whether it will ask Sauro to repay any additional benefit he’s received since the retirement board’s 2015 decision.

Sauro’s lawyer Joseph Penza, Jr. said he’s disappointed but respects the court’s decision.

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