DALLAS -- Mayor Mike Rawlings told the state's Pension Review Board that recklessness led to the financial crisis of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund.
"This is much like a Bernie Madoff scheme, if you ask me," he said.
The mayor said past pension fund members guaranteed themselves 8-to-10 percent returns in their retirement fund, called Drop. Some left with millions in their accounts.
On top of that, there were bad investments.
It left behind a huge mess that threatens to bankrupt the fund and cost Dallas tax payers billions.
"The City of Dallas tax payer is the punching bag in this issue," Rawlings said.
The pension board wants the city to contribute $1.1. billion in 2018, but to do that, they would have to increase the property tax rate by 130 percent.
The mayor says the city has already paid its share, and to do more could be illegal.
Mayor Rawlings says past fund managers failed police and fire fighters by mismanaging the fund. However, four City Council members have also been on the board, making up a third of the board. So there is plenty of blame to go around.
"You had the perfect storm coming together and all of them screwing it up," said Fred Fraizer, president of the Dallas Police Association. "So, now who is on the hook? The taxpayer, the employer, the officers that receive the pay."
The head of the state's pension review board seemed frustrated with all involved.
“We seem to be at a stalemate and at a place where more of the discussions is about blame than around taking responsibility and moving forward," he said.
Frazier and the mayor agree that it takes everyone coming together to solve this problem. Both say there needs to be a long-term plan.