Milwaukee County mistake: Deputy’s widow may be on the hook for $140,000

MILWAUKEE -- She's the widow of a Milwaukee County deputy, and now she could be on the hook for $140,000 all because of a county pension error. The county says she was accidentally overpaid.

Jenna Aleman

Jenna Aleman

In July of 2012, Milwaukee County Deputy Sergio Aleman, was killed when his squad rear-ended a flatbed truck on I-43. His widow and five children were left to grieve.

The county agreed to pay a "survivorship pension" to the family, but now four-and-a-half years later that may be taken away.

Sergio Aleman funeral

Sergio Aleman funeral

"She's already suffered the loss of her husband so this is insult to injury," said Theodore Lipscomb, chairman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

Sergio Aleman

Sergio Aleman

It's all because of a Milwaukee County mistake.

Theo Lipscomb

Theo Lipscomb

"This should have not happened to them or anyone else," said Lipscomb.

The county board chairman says an administrative error resulted in an overpayment of benefits calculated at $140,000.

Jenna Aleman may now be on the hook to pay that money back. Chairman Lipscomb was notified about the error last week. He says the county retirement director was told about it years ago.

"My initial reaction was this was compounding the tragedy and the suffering that she's already endured," said Lipscomb.

Jenna Aleman

Jenna Aleman

Lipscomb sent an email to the director, who resigned shortly after.

"I responded with a number of questions of how this could possibly have happened and when did they discover it," said Lipscomb.

Questions like: when this error was discovered, how the benefit overpayment was calculated and the actions taken.

County Executive Chris Abele responded in a statement:

“To say I am disappointed that this error occurred to anyone, let alone the widow of a heroic public servant, is an understatement. This was a tragic mistake that could have financially devastating consequences. My heart goes out to the Aleman family. I’ve also held accountable the individual responsible for not taking timely action to correct this error.

“Moving forward, our priority is on conducting a comprehensive, independent audit of the system to ensure that this kind of error won’t happen again.”

What happens next is yet to be determined.

9 comments

  • Stove

    $140k seems like something that can be absorbed by the county. If the error was noticed years ago and nothing done then it should be wiped clean.

  • sometimesarose

    All the hand-wringing after the fact, all the investigations and the “we’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again” does not help this woman NOW. Milwaukee spends more than this on post-it notes every year. Forgive the debt NOW and leave this family in peace!

  • dick

    How can they ask for it back if the wife was not aware she was overpaid? It was the countys mistake and should be taken care of by the county. What a slap in the face to the family! Might wanna think about that next time you fill out a job app to be a county or state worker! #safejobswi #wiwecare

  • Steponthebrake

    Happens all the time. Talk to military widows. Pay it back. You only get what the contract says you get.

  • knowthefactsgal

    She does not have five children. He fathered five children between her and his first wife. Please get your facts straight Fox6. Also, I Googled Sergio Aleman phone records and it brought up your story on how the cause of death was his inattentive driving, yet the family refused to release the phone records. Something fishy there. So you withhold info; was that to get the life insurance payout? Pension is different; it covers his time served. The fact that the County made the mistake is ridiculous; that should never happen. But there are more details to this story Fox6!

  • sofi

    stop paying for sheriff clarke’s travel, entertainment and lodging to follow his idol Trump around the country and you should be able to recover the money in no time flat.

Comments are closed.