Kansas City-Area Corrections Workers President Sentenced

afscme-logoAmerican Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1707 represents corrections employees in Jackson County, Missouri.  Its main problem right now appears to be finding a president who won’t wind up in jail himself.  On September 16, Lowell Wreh, former president of the Kansas City, Mo.-based local, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to five years of probation and ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment for defrauding the union out of $7,642.  Wreh had pleaded guilty in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Wreh, 46, a resident of Raytown, Mo., in suburban Kansas City, became acting president of AFSCME Local 1707 in October 2012 after his predecessor, Jesse Morgan, had departed in the wake of an internal union probe.  The audit had concluded that at least $185,000 in union funds was missing.  …

AFSCME President in Oklahoma City Arrested for Embezzlement

afscme-logoWilliam Bryles spent money on people he liked.  Unfortunately, the source of the funds appeared to be his own union.  On August 17, Bryles, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2406, was arrested for embezzling more than $15,000 from the Oklahoma City public employees union.  Various witnesses have claimed he used union accounts to cover personal expenses ranging from basketball tournaments to flowers for his wife.  “Bryles has engaged in a pattern of abuse of his powers as president of AFSCME Local 2406 and has used union funds for his own profit,” reported Oklahoma City police detective Clint Dellinger to a local judge in requesting the arrest warrant.

This case grew out of an unrelated and more disturbing one.  According to court records, Bryles, now 53, a resident of Oklahoma City, had been investigated by local police starting last September in response to an allegation …

SEIU, State of Minnesota Pick Pockets of Home Care Workers

home care providerIn Minnesota, the Service Employees International Union might qualify as a separate branch of government.  Governor Mark Dayton, for one, wouldn’t object. Three years ago the State of Minnesota enacted a law opening the door to unionizing private home care providers for the disabled.  The law soon seemed destined for oblivion.  In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Harris v. Quinn, ruled that an Illinois law forcing home care workers to pay union dues violated their free speech rights.  That these employees received a portion of their incomes from state Medicaid funds, said the Court, does not subject them to a public-sector labor agreement.  Yet the Minnesota law’s supporters have managed to sidestep that ruling, enriching union coffers in the process.

The Service Employees gambit in Minnesota goes back nearly five years.  In November 2011, Governor Dayton, a Democrat, issued an executive order authorizing union elections for private …

Kansas City, Mo. AFSCME Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

afscme-logoLowell Wreh headed a union that represented jail workers.  Now he faces the possibility of being an inmate.  On January 20, Wreh, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1707, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one count of wire fraud in the amount of $7,642 against the Kansas City, Mo. union, which represents employees of the Jackson County Department of Corrections.  The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Wreh became acting president of AFSCME Local 1707 in October 2012 and then permanent president in July 2013.  His predecessor, Jesse Morgan, left under a cloud of suspicion following an internal audit that discovered more than $185,000 worth of missing funds.  Morgan would be indicted on federal charges, eventually pleading guilty to defrauding …

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Michigan Sentenced for Fraud

AFSCME logoTiffany Randle’s remorse probably kept her out of prison.  On November 23, Randle, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 652, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one day of imprisonment (with credit for time served) and two years of probation for defrauding the Kalamazoo-based union.  She also was ordered to pay $23,727 in restitution.  Randle had pleaded guilty in August after being indicted in July.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Prosecutors alleged that Randle, 47, a resident of Kalamazoo, stole funds from a credit union account sponsored by AFSCME Local 652, which represents employees at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital.  She cashed union checks by forging the name of the local vice president and used the funds for her own benefit.  At her sentencing hearing, …

Illinois Local AFSCME Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

afscme-logoJeffrey Magelitz managed the finances of a union representing prison employees.  Now he may wind up one of its inmates.  On November 18, Magelitz, former treasurer of Local 415 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for embezzlement and theft, and for concealment of these acts in a union financial report.  The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Magelitz, 44, a resident of Chester (Randolph County), Ill., served as treasurer of AFSCME Local 415 during January 2012-June 2013.  Prosecutors charge that this was enough time for him to have embezzled $30,811.96 in funds from the union, which represents employees at the Vienna Correction Center in Vienna (Johnson County), Ill.  Moreover, he allegedly prepared and cashed unauthorized union checks for himself, forging the signatures of the local president and …

Baltimore AFSCME Local President Indicted for Theft

afscme-logoOn September 1, Betty Robinson, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2751, was indicted in the Circuit Court for the City of Baltimore, Maryland on one count of theft of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000 from the Baltimore union.  The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Michigan Charged; Pleads Guilty

afscme-logoOn July 27, Tiffany Randle, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 652, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan with forging checks from a union bank account, of an unspecified sum, for her personal use.  Less than three weeks later, on August 14, she pleaded guilty.  The union is based in Kalamazoo.  The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.…

AFSCME Home Care Workers President in New York Sentenced

AFSCME logoOn June 26, Juanita Phillips, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 389, was sentenced in the Supreme Court of New York State to one year in prison for stealing funds in an unspecified amount from the New York City-based home care workers union.  She had pleaded guilty last September.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

N.J. Supreme Court Says ‘No’ to Unions; Allows Gov. Christie to Delay Pension Payments

Whether one sees New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as confronting or punting, it’s hard to deny he knows a crisis when he sees one.  The State Supreme Court sees one as well.  On June 9, the Court ruled 5-2 that Christie was within bounds in delaying two years of contributions, nearly $2.5 billion, to the state’s chronically underfunded public-employee pension system.  The ruling, a clear blow to the unions who brought forth the suit, for now averts a fiscal calamity.  Critics claim that Christie, expected shortly to enter the Republican presidential race, broke a law he signed in 2011, passing the buck to his successors.  Supporters counter that the ruling gives the legislature breathing room to fix a condition resulting from years of excessive union contract demands.  The latter is a familiar story in other states, too.

For several years, state employee pension systems have threatened to become a national …

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