- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former Missouri state lawmaker is battling the state over whether a federal conviction should affect his qualification for a state pension.

Ray Salva, who is 68, served in the Missouri House for about seven years beginning in 2003. The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/1M95Zdw ) he pleaded guilty in 2013 to a federal charge of illegally receiving about $59,000 in Social Security disability payments while working as a state legislator. Salva has since repaid the $59,000.

Federal prosecutors say Salva intentionally concealed his state earnings to avoid the cap imposed on people who receive disability payments.

Salva says he’s entitled to his state pension because his guilty plea came after he left the legislature.

But Missouri officials say the state constitution prohibits pension payments to public officials convicted of felonies. The state has cut off Salva’s pension and wants a judge to order him to repay about $30,000 he’s already received. In court filing, the state says prohibition of pension payments applies to when a crime is committed while in office, not when a conviction takes place.

According to Salva, he is entitled to the pension because his guilty plea was entered more than two years after he left the legislature. The former lawmaker wants to keep the $30,000 and receive a monthly pension of $1,000 with interest and costs.

The Missouri attorney general’s office, which is representing the state, declined to comment on the case to the newspaper. Salva’s attorney, and son, Ray Salva Jr., has also declined to comment. The newspaper could not reach Salva for a comment, as well.

The dispute is scheduled for trial in late November.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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