The lure of nightlife and travel can be hard to resist. And sometimes people pay the tab at someone else’s expense and without permission. Steven Thomas and Thomas Leonard are learning the downside of this. Until 2006, the pair had served, respectively, as construction manager and recording secretary for Laborers International Union of North America Local 500 in Toledo, Ohio. That’s when the union removed the pair from their posts for allegedly using funds to pay for more than $30,000 worth of strip club visits and personal travel. Now prosecutors have gotten into the act. On July 23, the two men were charged in federal court with embezzlement. The action follows a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to the federal indictment, Thomas, 40, charged expenses at Scarlett’s Gentlemen’s Club in Toledo and Kahoots Gentlemen’s Club in Columbus to a union credit card. Thomas allegedly accrued $17,500 in charges during December 2003-December 2004. In addition, he received about $11,000 in travel advances between September 2001 and October 2005 “for which he did not provide receipts or for which he did not incur legitimate union expense.” Leonard, 45, allegedly used a local credit card to charge $4,386 in “unauthorized personal expenditures.” To make things worse, the alleged thefts occurred when union membership was shrinking and its budget was incurring a deficit. Since the discovery of the misspent funds, the local has instituted a policy requiring business agents to account for daily time and credit card usage. (Toledo Blade, 7/25/08).