- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A retired postal clerk has sued the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a copy of his work records as part of a fight over whether he’s been paid too much in pension benefits and owes the government a refund.

The retiree, Daniel Sagi, 57, of Shaler Township, doesn’t say how much the government claims he’s been overpaid since he retired in November 2012.

But in the four-page federal lawsuit filed late Monday, Sagi said he filed Freedom of Information Act requests for his records four times since July and has received no response - except to acknowledge that two of his requests have been received.

According to the lawsuit, federal agencies are required to determine and respond within 20 days whether they’ll release the records. OPM’s policy is to respond to records requests even more quickly, within 10 days.

The agency did not immediately respond to phone and email messages requesting comment Tuesday, nor did a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which generally defends federal agencies in lawsuits.

Sagi’s attorney, Jonathan Cohn, told The Associated Press he’s representing Sagi in his challenge of the government’s pension findings but can’t get started on that without the government file.

“It’s unfortunate that having requested his records four times he has to file a federal lawsuit to get a copy of his federal retirement files,” Cohn said.

Cohn wouldn’t comment on the amount of money in dispute. But the attorney said he needs the personnel file to determine how the government calculated Sagi’s retirement benefits and then came to the conclusion that he’s been overpaid.

“I need to know what they’re saying he was paid and the basis of their (pension) calculation,” Cohn said. “It’s a fundamental first-step kind of thing. And it’s hard to get past the first step if you don’t have the file.”

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