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In late 1984, McCarron was named a trustee of the Southern California Pension Fund, the carpenters' union retirement fund. In late 1985 and early 1986, McCarron discovered that $130 million in loans to construction companies were delinquent but no action had been taken by the other trustees. Working with Ron Tutor, a construction company owner and co-chairman of the fund's board of trustees, McCarron and others filed a federal civil suit alleging that the pension fund trustees had made sweetheart loans to employer trustees, masking the loans as investments. Several of the construction projects had failed, with the fund suffering significant losses. The suit was settled out of court 1989 when insurance companies representing the trustees and construction companies paid the fund $30 million. Under the terms of the settlement, all the defendants agreed to immediately and permanently resign from the pension fund's board.[1][2]
McCarron's relationship with Tutor was not without controversy. In 1993, the carpenters' pension fund made a large investment in a company which held televised boxing matches at a Palm Springs, California, hotel owned by the fund, and a $40 million investment in a company that supplied nearly all the concrete for one of Tutor's construction companies. The value of the latter investment declined by 31 percent, leading union members to call for a federal investigation.[3]