Pamplin Five Months Late in Pension Filings to Feds

Robert Pamplin Jr. has acted as both the trustee for the pension fund and the CEO of the operating companies.

Former Ross Island Sand & Gravel Co. Drymix Concrete Plant, 2611 SE 4th Avenue. (Brian Burk)

Signs of trouble continue at the R.B. Pamplin Corp. and Subsidiaries Pension Plan. The best source of information about the Pamplin pension is the federal filings the fund must make annually, but a key part of those filings, due Oct. 15, 2023, remains missing: the fund’s audited financials.

As WW has previously reported, Robert Pamplin Jr.—CEO of the family-owned empire that includes 24 Oregon newspapers, Ross Island Sand & Gravel, and the Mount Vernon Mills textile chain based in South Carolina—has engaged in dozens of highly unusual real estate transactions, in most cases selling unused industrial real estate from Pamplin operating companies at questionable values to the pension fund.

Those transactions, totaling more than $60 million, have come during a period when tax liens and lawsuits seeking payment from Pamplin operating companies have raised questions about the financial condition of the companies.

Robert Pamplin, once listed on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, has acted as both the trustee for the pension fund and the CEO of the operating companies. That’s unusual, experts say, because the interests of the two entities may differ.

A U.S. Department of Labor spokesman says the agency’s chief accountant “has the authority and responsibility to enforce filing requirements” for the missing financials.

Pamplin officials did not respond to a request for comment.

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