Fallen Southern California SEIU Local President Sentenced

Service Employees logoConsidering how much he stole, Tyrone Freeman should consider himself lucky. This past Monday, on October 7, Freeman, ex-president of Service Employees International Union Local 6434, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court to two years and nine months in prison for stealing union funds and making false statements in connection with obtaining a mortgage loan. He also was ordered to pay about $150,000 in restitution. Prior to his ouster by SEIU International President Andrew Stern in 2008, Freeman had been considered by many to be Stern’s heir apparent. He was indicted last July on 15 criminal counts and convicted this January on 14 of them. “I am accountable for these bad decisions,” Freeman stated at his sentencing. Unfortunately, his offenses were more than simply bad business decisions. 

Union Corruption Update has covered this case many times. Tyrone Freeman, a rising star in Southern California labor circles by mid-decade, headed …

Former Southern California SEIU Boss Freeman Found Guilty

Tyrone FreemanDespite all evidence to the contrary, Tyrone Freeman (see photo) was convinced he was innocent. It proved less a conviction than a delusion. This past Monday, January 28, a Los Angeles federal jury convicted the once-powerful Southern California Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leader on 14 criminal charges, including embezzlement, mail fraud and tax fraud. It was an ignominious downfall for a man whom many believed one day would succeed his ally and mentor, then-SEIU President Andrew Stern. “This was a case about abuse and betrayal,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. “Freeman abused his position as a leader of the SEIU, and he betrayed the hardworking people whose interests he was supposed to represent.” In one sense, Freeman got off easy: While convicted of thefts in the tens of thousands of dollars, the actual total almost surely was far higher.

Union Corruption Update has covered this case several times, most

SEC Nominee Mary Jo White Protected Corrupt Union Bosses in Teamsters Prosecution

Mary Jo White and ObamaMary Jo White is a poor choice to head the SEC. As a U.S. attorney, she demonstrated a lack of political independence and competence.

In the late 90’s prosecution of the Teamsters money landering scandal, White won several guilty pleas from low-level has-beens, but gave a pass to prominent union figures who played a key role in the Democratic political campaign of 2000, and every one since. The magnitude of White’s dereliction of duty can be seen in who was not prosecuted- Richard Trumka, Andrew Stern and Gerald McEntee.

In the 1996 Teamster election, incumbent President Ron Carey narrowly defeated Detroit union attorney James Hoffa, son of the legendary Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. After the loss, the younger Hoffa’s operatives pored over Carey’s campaign disclosure documents and found evidence of serious wrongdoing by the Carey campaign. Carey’s campaign raised $538,100 through a series of schemes including some $885,000 in bogus …

New Book Highlights Dangers of Government Employee Unions

“The unbridled growth of crony unionism and government corruption will destroy the United States as we know it.” This statement may strike many as sheer hyperbole. But its author, Mallory Factor, a political scientist at The Citadel, knows whereof he writes. His new book, “Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind” (New York: Center Street), makes a credible case, and a well-sourced one, that our country may be in the early stages of a ruinous dystopia, courtesy of public-sector unions. In pursuing their interests, argues the author, these labor organizations hold taxpaying citizens hostage to unsustainable wage/salary, pension, health care and other contractual commitments. Municipal bankruptcy filings this year by San Bernardino and Stockton, Calif. may be a mere taste of things to come.

Some context here would be useful. America, with relatively little fanfare, passed a milestone during 2009. For the first time in our nation’s …

Ex-Los Angeles SEIU Boss Indicted for Theft, Tax Evasion

SEIU logoTyrone Freeman was once a rising star within the Service Employees International Union. Now his fall is imminent. Last Tuesday, July 31, Freeman, former president of the powerful Los Angeles-based United Long-Term Care Workers, also known as SEIU Local 6434, was indicted in federal court on 15 counts of embezzlement, tax evasion and other offenses. The action wasn’t unexpected. Freeman’s one-time benefactor, former SEIU President Andrew Stern, had permanently moved him from his post in late 2008 following newspaper accounts of corruption. The stories triggered an internal probe and a nearly four-year joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, FBI and IRS. Freeman’s lawyers say their client is innocent. A jury might not be of a similar cast of mind. His wife already has pleaded guilty. And he’s facing an unresolved state civil suit. 

Union Corruption Update covered this story twice in September 2008 and once more …

SEIU’s Andrew Stern Endorses Corporate Tax Break, But What Does It Mean?

Andrew SternIs Andrew Stern, the retired president of the Service Employees International Union, a born-again capitalist? That’s the emerging view at SEIU headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. and various points beyond. For months, Stern, who stepped down last spring after 14 years at the helm, has been championing a proposal to grant a limited-period tax break for U.S. corporations on investment income earned abroad and transferred to here. Stern’s allies in the labor movement are shaking their heads in disbelief. His union enemies are saying, “I told you so.” Many in the business world are welcoming him like an old friend. Yet the real story may be that Stern is being his old self: a believer in a large-scale government-corporate-union partnership to generate jobs – preferably union ones. 

Among contemporary union leaders on the left side of political activism, Andrew Stern surely ranks as one of the most vocal and …

Ex-SEIU Official Caught on Tape Revealing Economic Destabilization Plan

Andrew SternStephen Lerner is a hard person to admire. His specialty, after all, is economic sabotage. Yet his utility to the cause of public accountability is undeniable. Lerner, a longtime official with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) until his supposed ouster last November, was caught on March 18 and 19 on audiotape speaking before a closed-session audience at Pace University in Manhattan describing an SEIU plan to destabilize the U.S. economy. The campaign, which he heads, intends to take down the financial sector and trigger a massive redistribution of wealth and power. Cynics might note that it was The Blaze, the website started last summer by bombastic TV host Glenn Beck, which posted the recordings. Yet the tapes sound completely undoctored and spontaneous. And they ought to raise questions about the leadership of the SEIU, especially under President Andrew Stern (see photo), who departed a year ago. 

The Service Employees International Union …

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Top TenOrganized labor, masters of aggressive politics, had its share of triumphs in 2010. With Democrats, their natural ally, the previous year having taken control of the White House and the Senate while increasing their advantage in the House, this was to be expected. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other union officials used their window of opportunity to pressure Congress into passing a health care overhaul mandating unprecedented degrees of government intrusion, and by extension, major opportunities for unionization of the health care labor force. They also secured key presidential appointments.

That said, the year was noteworthy for legislative mandates unions didn’t achieve, especially forced private-sector employer recognition of majority union “card checks” and forced state and local government bargaining with public-safety unions. The new Congress, with a GOP House majority, is far less likely to deliver on either count. Meanwhile, Justice Department crackdowns finished off various union-Mafia scams. Embezzlers, great and small, …

FBI, Labor Department Probe SEIU’s Stern

Andrew SternThe abrupt departure by Andrew Stern this spring as president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), after 14 years on the job, blindsided a lot of observers. After all, he was a shadow cabinet member of the Obama administration. Reported ongoing federal investigations into two unrelated, and possibly illegal, financial arrangements may shed light on his motives. The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times each ran stories last Tuesday stating the FBI and the Department of Labor have been interviewing persons potentially knowledgeable about the possibility that Stern: 1) received unauthorized funds from a book he’d authored several years ago; and 2) approved the disbursement of funds to pay for a Southern California SEIU local official’s no-show job who eventually was convicted in an unrelated kickback scheme. Stern denies his involvement in these activities and indeed even the fact of an investigation. 

Andrew Stern, though with two years left in his …

Burger Resigns from SEIU, Change to Win

Anna BurgerAdmirers may still call her "the queen of American labor," but Anna Burger (see photo) is now without a throne. Last week Burger stepped down as secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union and as chairwoman of the SEIU-driven labor federation, Change to Win. Her resignations, which came on the heels of her announcement, weren't unexpected to those who know her. Her boss and longtime ally, Andrew Stern, only a few months earlier had resigned as Service Employees president. And Burger couldn't secure the needed support from the union's executive committee in her bid to become Stern's successor. The top spot went to Executive Vice President Mary Kay Henry. Though publicly she welcomed Ms. Henry's ascension, privately she was planning her exit. That's the nature of power struggles in any type of organization: Odd person out leaves.  

Anna Burger, who next month turns 60, is an old friend of Andy …

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