Police unions seem to have produced a lot of corruption stories lately. The latest example comes from Northern California. On July 27, David Sittig-Wattson, now 34, former treasurer of the Rohnert Park Public Safety Officers Association, an independent union, was arrested for felony embezzlement in an unspecified sum from the association over a four-year period. He was released on $5,000 bail and is set to appear in court at a later date. Rohnert Park is a community of 50,000 located about 50 miles north of San Francisco. Sittig-Wattson had turned himself into police following an investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office at the request of the district attorney. … Read More ➡
The case of Sean Clark barely went noticed. And that was the way that the Somerville, Massachusetts Police Department seemed to like it – until the facts no longer could be hidden. Very recently, public radio station WBUR-FM in Boston, having examined a list of Commonwealth grand jury indictments involving law enforcement officers provided by the Middlesex County district attorney’s office, revealed that Clark had been convicted this March and sentenced in April for embezzling more than $83,000 during October 2017-January 2019 from his union, the Somerville Police Employees Association (SPEA). Officer Clark, who had a gambling problem, remains on the force, but probably not for long. The City of Somerville completed a probe at the end of March, and reportedly is recommending that he be fired.
Police unions have been receiving much criticism these past couple months, and two trustees of a New York City police union benefit plan haven’t helped matters. Three days ago, July 13, Kenneth Wynder Jr., president of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with defrauding the LEEBA annuity fund of more than $500,000 following his arrest. Separately, LEEBA Treasurer Steven Whittick was charged with obstruction and making false statements in the case. Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss explained, “Today we have charged two leaders of a union that represents local law enforcement officers for engaging in criminal conduct.” The charges follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Labor Department and the City Comptroller’s Office.
At the beginning of this month, Union Corruption Update analyzed the lengths to which police unions often … Read More ➡
Most people would consider an $82,400 salary, plus the use of a free motor vehicle and housing, sufficient to maintain a decent lifestyle. But Stanley J. Kluss apparently isn’t like most people. As executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association during 1986-2004, he supplemented his aforementioned income and benefit package with roughly $25,000 in unauthorized expenses from the union till. On October 5, the 63-year-old Kluss received the bill: a 37-count federal indictment.
Justice Department officials allege that between October 2000 and February 2004 Kluss defrauded the Madison-based police association in several ways. First, he charged personal items to the tune of $8,879 on its credit cards, disguising them as legitimate expenses by cutting the tops and bottoms off receipts. He also inflated official travel records by nearly 50,000 miles, fraudulently obtaining about $15,000 in reimbursements this way. Finally, he made $1,440 in unauthorized cash withdrawals from ATM machines. … Read More ➡