Memphis AFSCME at War With Itself Over Counter Corruption Charges

Memphis’ American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 1733 bosses are locked in a bitter dispute over Executive Director Dorothy Crook. At Jul. 31 press conference, the Local Vice-President Johnny Dansberry said, “Members of the executive board…had received numerous complaints from members about [Crook’s] competency and ability to function as executive director… Questions were also raised about financial irregularities appearing in the books of the Local 1733.” The executive board voted in May to fire Crook.

Crook filed a grievance against the board contending she has been denied due process. Jeff A. Crow, Jr., hired by AFSCME to litigate the Crook case, said a grievance hearing likely will be scheduled this month. A court case pending in Shelby County Chancery Court is on hold pending the outcome of the union’s grievance procedure. Alfred Dowdy, a board member supporting Crook, filed the lawsuit last month against Local 1733 President Willie J. Alexander. Dowdy claims that Crook was fired without cause saying the real motive behind the firing was that Crook had informed the national AFSCME union about an improper life insurance plan that violated the union’s constitution.

Dansberry and other executive board members at the press conference refused to discuss the details about why Crook was fired, citing legal restraints. “The executive board sincerely hoped that Ms. Crook would not take steps to force the public airing of the many embarrassing things she has done,” said Dansberry. However, Reva Kriegel, Crook’s attorney, said Dansberry’s statements contain “blatant falsehoods and are riddled with innuendo, possibly exposing them to libel.” [Commercial Appeal 08/01/98]