Gambling losses, and thefts from union treasuries to cover them, have ruined more than a few careers of labor officials and employees. On occasion, they’ve nearly ruined unions outright. Edna Latimore provides a case in point. On August 7, the former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 900 in St. Louis pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to embezzling around $77,000 in funds from her union and then attempting to cover up the thefts by making false statements on a Department of Labor financial report. She is due to be sentenced in October.
Latimore, 41, a resident of Ferguson, Mo., had served from January 2006 until April 2007 as treasurer of the local, which represents employees of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. Prosecutors charged that she knowingly understated her unauthorized disbursements to cover withdrawals with a union ATM bank card. Most of the withdrawals were made at area casinos. The cash drain made it difficult for the union to pay its bills, triggering an internal audit. On the plus side, Latimore admitted to her misconduct when it was discovered. And she’s since repaid the union $7,000. But if there’s a restitution agreement in the works, she still has a ways to go. (St. Louis Business Journal, 8/7/08; Associated Press, 8/7/08).