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Illinois cop pension fund faces a $50 billion shortfall

The Illinois cop pensions fund has run out of money and has a $51 billion shortfall to raise from investors, the state pension fund director said Monday.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction David Vitale said the Illinois Police Retirement Fund has $50.4 billion in assets and $4.5 billion in debt.

That includes a $40.7 billion liability for the Illinois Highway Patrol Pension Fund, which has a long history of underfunding its payments, he said.

Vitale said that would mean the fund’s annual shortfall would rise to $50,000 per officer.

He said it would be difficult to fund the shortfall in part because of the impact on the pension fund’s earnings.

The pension fund also would be forced to take on more than $8 billion in obligations, including $2 billion to cover its pension obligations in the first quarter of this year.

The fund was founded in 1956, but it had no assets until 2013, when it was sold to the private equity firm Fidelity Capital.

Fidelity acquired the fund from a group of investors, including Chicago police union president Jerry Hall, in December.