MBTA retirement fund sues investment firm auditor over $25 million loss

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The MBTA retirement fund is suing the national auditing firm Grant Thornton and two other service companies over its losses on a $25 million investment recommended to the fund by its former executive director.

The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, blames the pension fund’s loss in a Fletcher Asset Management hedge fund on firms it alleges should have identified that Fletcher was not investing the money as promised.

The Fletcher hedge funds, operated by the New York-based firm, are bankrupt and under investigation by federal authorities for running a suspected Ponzi scheme. The MBTA pension fund has lost its entire $25 million investment in the Fletcher fund, as previously reported by the Globe.

The MBTA alleges in the complaint that Grant Thornton, New York-based auditor EisnerAmpner and a San Francisco asset valuation firm, Quantal International Inc., failed to properly audit and value the holdings in the hedge fund.

The investment was sold to the pension fund by its former executive director, Karl E. White, nine months after he left the helm of the retirement fund for a job at Fletcher.

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