Sherri Patrick isn’t the communicative type. She’ll likely become one, however, not long from now. Patrick’s former employer, the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, on February 8 filed a criminal complaint with the Detroit Police Department alleging that she’d embezzled $75,000 in union funds. Patrick had served as the union’s business manager until last spring and as a member of the Highland Park School Board until late January, citing “personal issues.”
Union officials assert Patrick, a resident of Highland Park, forged signatures, including that of DFT President Keith Johnson, on any number of union checks and diverted funds to her purposes. He added that she resigned her position in April in lieu of being fired. The union attempted to contact her in November, requesting that she pay back the money by December 1, but she did not respond. The DFT extended the deadline to January 31, but once again she did not respond. At that point, the union decided to take action. “We are moving forward with filing the criminal complaint,” said Johnson several days later. That’s as it should be.