Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SEIU's Tyrone Freeman Is Indicted on 15 Counts

SEIU's Tyrone Freeman

A federal grand jury has indicted SEIU's Tyrone Freeman on 15 counts that could produce a maximum prison sentence of 200 years. Freeman was the president of two SEIU local unions in California, a Vice President of SEIU's International Executive Board, and is a close ally of SEIU President Emeritus Andy Stern and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.

In a three-page press release issued late this afternoon, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that a federal grand jury indicted Freeman on...
"four counts of mail fraud, seven counts of embezzlement and/or theft of labor union assets, one count of making false statement to a federally insured financial institution, and three counts of subscribing to a false tax return." 
According to the press release, "Freeman has agreed to appear for arraignment in United States District Court on September 24."

Also late this afternoon, the Los Angeles Times published this article on the indictment. Here are some excerpts:
On Tuesday, however, Freeman was indicted on federal charges of stealing from those workers to enrich himself, including by billing the union for costs from his Hawaii wedding.

The 15-count indictment secured by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles also alleges that Freeman violated tax laws and gave false information to a mortgage lender. If convicted on all counts, he could face maximum prison sentences in excess of 200 years.

The charges resulted from a nearly four-year investigation by the U.S. Labor Department, FBI and Internal Revenue Service that grew out of a series of  reports in the Los Angeles Times on Freeman’s financial dealings as president of SEIU Local 6434. The resulting scandal spread through the 2-million-member SEIU and cost several other union officials their jobs...

Abel Salinas, the Labor Department’s special agent in charge in L.A., said the indictment of Freeman demonstrates the government’s “commitment to investigating allegations of labor racketeering in our nation’s unions.”

U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek would not comment on whether Freeman could face more charges. Mrozek said the investigation was ongoing.

Sources close to the case said the indictment contains the most clear-cut allegations, but if Freeman is convicted, prosecutors could present at a sentencing hearing information about his use of other union funds.

Still pending in state court is a civil lawsuit the union filed against Freeman and his wife, Pilar Planells, that seeks to recover more than $1.1 million they allegedly pilfered. The money allegedly financed Freeman's lifestyle of $175 glasses of cognac, $250 bottles of wine and a $3,400 trip to the NFL Pro Bowl.
Under Freeman, Local 6434 grew dramatically, largely because of a consolidation campaign spearheaded by SEIU’s then-president, Andy Stern, who had nurtured Freeman’s rise in the union.

   Here's the full article at the Los Angeles Times.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Newspaper: SEIU’s Tyrone Freeman to Face Indictment by Federal Grand Jury

Tyrone Freeman and Monica Russo

It appears that the purple-hued crime spree that's been splashed across San Francisco's newspapers is now shifting south to Los Angeles. According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, a federal grand jury will soon hand down a criminal indictment against Tyrone Freeman. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
For Freeman, who has been living with family members as he has sought various jobs over the last four years, the day of reckoning is expected to come this week when a federal grand jury returns an indictment against him...

His wife, Pilar Planells, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a misdemeanor federal charge regarding her tax reports. She was fined $130,000.
The article includes a statement from Freeman about the pending indictment:
"I'm back voluntarily -- and confidently -- to face these false allegations, which appear to be leading to an unjust indictment," Freeman said in a statement released by his attorneys. "Just like what brought me to L.A, in 1999, I am back to fight the good fight."
Freeman was appointed by Andy Stern to serve as the president of SEIU Local 6434, which represents 170,000 homecare and nursing home workers across California. He also served as a Vice President on SEIU’s International Executive Board and is a close ally of Mary Kay Henry.

Tasty believes the federal indictment will be handed down tomorrow, July 31. Earlier this month, the United States Attorney’s Office filed this document in a related civil suit. It indicates that the current “statute of limitations” on Freeman’s alleged criminal violations will expire on July 31.

Tasty believes the indictment will cover both familiar and unfamiliar territory for readers. Many readers are well aware of the corruption documented by the Los Angeles Times, including Freeman's schemes to divert more than a million dollars of union members’ money to his relatives and himself for cigar bars, expensive restaurants and Freeman's lavish wedding in Hawai’i.

Less well-known, however, is an even larger scheme that drained at least $12.5 million from the union. And the details are literally jaw-dropping.  

The scheme, which has not been reported in the press, is described in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in June of 2009. It alleges that Freeman plundered millions from “a union-sponsored health and welfare plan that provides benefits to tens of thousands of workers providing in-home care to California’s aged and disabled.”

Basically, Freeman set up an SEIU insurance fund that was supposed to provide health, dental and other benefits to tens of thousands of SEIU's members across California. In order to fund these benefits, Freeman collected millions of dollars of benefits payments from county governments… and then systematically plundered the funds via a series of insider deals, kickbacks and backroom schemes with crooked consulting firms and fat-cat businessmen.

Companies involved in the multiple schemes include TelaDoc, Dickerson Employee Benefits and Physicians Care Insurance Services. Here's an excerpt from the lawsuit (see a full copy at bottom). Tasty describes some of the stunning details below.
Due to the acts and omissions of the Defendant Dickerson Employee Benefits and Freeman, the Plan purchased over-priced, inappropriate and/or illegal benefits, was charged excessive and improper commissions, paid money on claims not owed under the Plan terms, and failed to collect sufficient revenue to finance Plan benefits. Defendant TelaDoc aided in the fiduciary breaches of Dickerson Employee Benefits and Freeman, improperly received Plan assets, and engaged in material misrepresentations to induce the Plan to purchase an over-priced, inappropriate and/or illegal benefit service. As a consequence of Defendants’ acts and omissions, millions of dollars of Plan assets were wasted, and the Plan was very nearly rendered insolvent.
Here are some examples from court records, which describe a corruption that's so appalling it would make an Enron executive blush.

In one case that's described in court documents, Freeman funneled money to a corrupt contractor who then allegedly kicked back a portion of the funds to a special fund that Freeman used to finance his re-election to the presidency of SEIU Local 6434.

In another case, a corrupt contractor delivered kick-backs to Freeman by "donating" money to Freeman’s lavish golf tournaments, “the proceeds of which were whittled away on Freeman and his guests,” including “greens fees and spa treatments provided to Freeman and his friends…”

In yet another case, Freeman channeled workers’ health premiums to a corrupt contractor who allegedly rewarded Freeman with stock options in a private, for-profit corporation called “IGP Technologies.” When confronted with the details of this scheme, Freeman’s attorneys said the stock options were awarded to Freeman in exchange for his “advice on executive strategy execution." (Hmm... WTF is "executive strategy execution"?)

In still another case, Freeman diverted rivers of money to his principal partner-in-crime, Dickerson Employee Benefits, which then paid Freeman $45,000 in return for Freeman’s supposed advice and business plan for a for-profit company that was never launched. The phantom company that benefited from Freeman's astute business advice was called Insurance Clerk, Inc.  

Freeman -- who was the full-time president of two SEIU local unions as well as a Vice President of SEIU International -- apparently had plenty of time for consulting on the side, not to mention lavish golf tournaments and for-profit business schemes.

Amazingly, there are even more digusting dimensions to SEIU's corruption scandal. In 2007, Freeman signed a contract with a company called “TelaDoc” to provide over-the-phone medical consultations to workers when they're sick or injured.

Freeman signed the contract even though he allegedly knew that many workers could not legally receive the services. Why? In order to legally receive the over-the-phone services, each worker is required to have a primary-care physician who actually has conducted an in-person medical examination of each worker.

Most of the low-income workers in Freeman’s union did not have physicians! Nonetheless, under the deal, Freeman regularly deducted money from each worker’s paycheck in order to pay TelaDoc, which then pocketed giant profits because workers couldn't use the services! Next, Freeman negotiated a “refund” from TelaDoc, which Freeman allegedly funneled into so-called special projects.

And there’s more… but the details are far too lengthy to include in this post.

Needless to say, the allegations -- delivered to a judge in June of 2009 -- represent another giant vindication of Sal Rosselli and his team of rank-and-file leaders. In 2008, they rightfully resisted Andy Stern’s order to forcibly transfer 65,000 workers into Tyrone Freeman’s corrupt union. And they rightfully insisted on workers’ right to a transparent and democratic vote. For this, their union was placed under trusteeship by a corrupt and undemocratic SEIU. 

For those of us on the outside, we can now see more clearly why Rosselli's team resisted the forced transfer of 65,000 workers. Aside from the principles of worker democracy, it's clear that Freeman’s union was nothing less than a giant crime scene… and that Freeman’s corruption was thoroughly hard-wired into the union’s business relationships, insurance funds, consulting arrangements and finances.

Let's hope that Freeman -- and all of the Purple Palace officials who aided and abetted his crimes -- get their due!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sources: Top SEIU Officials Are Implicated in Chow Scandal

Dave Regan and Debbie Schneider
As Tasty noted in a recent post, insiders report that SEIU’s election-fraud scandal involving Leon Chow will soon entangle top SEIU leaders, including Dave Regan and Debbie Schneider.

Information supplied by these sources links Regan and Schneider to the Chow scandal and also implicates them in even more serious law-breaking.

Who’s Debbie Schneider? She’s a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board, is a longtime ally of Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry, and worked alongside Dave Regan as a “Deputy Trustee” at SEIU-UHW.

Beginning in the summer of 2008, Regan and Schneider led a team of SEIU staffers who spent six months planning the trusteeship of SEIU-UHW, which ultimately took place in January of 2009. Inside the Purple Palace, their secret planning project was codenamed “TRUHW” for “Trustee UHW.”

As part of this effort, Regan and Schneider employed investigators to try to dig up dirt on SEIU-UHW’s then-leaders. SEIU’s investigators left no stone unturned, examining each person’s legal records, romantic relationships, property records, divorces, savings accounts and, yes… their voting records!

That’s how Regan and Schneider -- in 2008 -- first discovered Chow’s election fraud. They learned that Chow, from 2004 to 2008, had registered and voted illegally from the offices of the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco even though he lived in different county. Of course, this is the same apparently criminal violation that the San Francisco Appeal unearthed just two weeks ago.

So did Regan and Schneider hand over this information to law enforcement officials when they discovered it back in 2008? 

Nope!  And this is where our story gets even more interesting.

Less than 24 hours after SEIU imposed its trusteeship on SEIU-UHW in January of 2009, Leon Chow resigned his membership in SEIU and joined NUHW… as did every other member of SEIU-UHW’s 100-member Executive Board. Then, several days later, Regan and Schneider contacted Chow and reportedly threatened to turn him in to law-enforcement officials unless he quit NUHW and worked for the trustees! Chow complied. Various sources corroborate this series of events. 

Why is this important? Simple. It would implicate Regan and Schneider in multiple criminal violations, including extortion. Plus, Regan and Schneider became aware of a felony violation of the state's election laws, but reportedly failed to report it to police. Both of these violations carry serious criminal penalties.

And there’s more!

In 2012, Regan -- knowing that Chow had violated the state’s election laws -- nonetheless selected and sponsored Chow as a candidate for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Regan even spent lots of SEIU-UHW’s resources to promote Chow’s campaign.

Furthermore, sources tell Tasty that Regan was fully aware of Chow’s more recent violations of election laws, including the fact that Chow claimed to reside in San Francisco while actually living in his Walnut Creek condominium. Regan, believing this information would never become public, deliberately foisted a fraudulent candidate on voters. 

What’s next? 

Tasty expects that law-enforcement officials will soon be posing questions about these interesting issues to Leon Chow and others... while they're under penalty of perjury!!

PS. A note to SEIU staffers. It is illegal to destroy records that are the subject of a criminal investigation.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow Must File Campaign Financial Report on Monday

On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle printed more news about Leon Chow’s decision to pull the ripcord on his political campaign following the publication of an article describing Chow's apparent election fraud. 

Chow, who serves on SEIU-UHW's Executive Committee, was running for a seat on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. His campaign was backed by SEIU-UHW and the Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Chronicle, it won't be so easy for Chow and his puppet-masters, including SEIU's Dave Regan, to sweep their ugly mess under a rug. Here’s an excerpt from the article: 
Ending the campaign isn't as easy as sending an e-mail. Chow, who began raising money for his race in May, has to file his campaign financial statement for the first six months of the year with the city Ethics Commission by midnight Monday. He also can't close his campaign until he disposes of any remaining campaign cash and makes a final financial report.
Chow also may be facing legal problems. It is against the law to vote at an address where you don't live and business addresses don't count.
And here’s another excerpt from the article:
Plagued by growing questions about just where he lives, union organizer Leon Chow has dropped his effort to unseat Supervisor John Avalos in November.

The decision wasn't a surprise. After a San Francisco Appeal story this month revealed that Chow had been registered to vote at the office of his former Chinatown nonprofit agency from 2004 to 2008 and had listed a Walnut Creek condominium as his official residence in 2009 court papers, his campaign ground to a halt. Chow has canceled his campaign kickoff event and shut down his Chow for Supervisor website. Although he had not officially filed his campaign papers, Chow sent a brief e-mail to the city elections office, saying he would not run for the District 11 seat in the Outer Mission/Excelsior neighborhood and asking to have his name removed from the department's list of potential candidates. While Chow has denied any wrongdoing, he hasn't said why he decided to end his campaign. Calls and e-mails to Chow have not been returned.
Here’s the full article in the San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, July 26, 2012

SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow Calls it Quits

SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow
Yesterday, Leon Chow’s political career reached its final, fiery conclusion when Chow -- a top official at SEIU-UHW -- officially withdrew from the race for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors amid allegations of election fraud.

The development was reported by the San Francisco Appeal -- which initially broke the story on Chow’s apparent felony violations of election laws -- and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Here’s an excerpt from the San Francisco Appeal:
Union organizer Leon Chow, whose ties to residences outside of the district may constitute voter fraud, has withdrawn his candidacy for District 11 supervisor. In a brief e-mail sent to the Department of Elections on Monday, Chow offered no explanation for the withdrawal of his candidacy…

Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Falk, with whom Chow serves as co-chairs of the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, also did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment.
Chow’s candidacy had enjoyed months of planning, preparation and funding by Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW and the Chamber of Commerce. In the end, however, it plummeted to earth in a spectacular explosion only 15 days after Tasty first published this post.

Here’s how the San Francisco Bay Guardian described it:
[Reporter Chris Roberts] dropped a journalistic bomb on Chow's ambitions a couple weeks ago when he unearthed documents indicating that Chow actually lived in Walnut Creek and that he was registered to vote at Chinatown business address – both in violation of election law…
 And the San Francisco Appeal cited Tasty in its coverage of the story:
According to self-described "labor union related gossip site" Stern Burger with Fries, Avalos is reportedly an enemy of SEIU-UHW honcho Dave Regan, who, according to Stern Burger, helped push Chow to run for office against him. Avalos is a member of the Board's progressive wing and was runner-up to Mayor Ed Lee in last year's mayoral election.
So what’s next? 

Well, one chapter of our story may be finished, but other chapters remain to be written! 

First, Chow will likely face a criminal investigation for apparent election fraud and other felonies. One source tells Tasty that the San Francisco City Attorney’s office has already begun examining Chow’s case.  

Secondly, more shoes will drop in the near future! Soon, Tasty plans to describe additional details -- revealed by inside sources at SEIU -- that implicate top SEIU officials in a variety of additional criminal wrongdoing that’s connected to Chow’s case.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blow the Whistle?

Wanna make sure that SEIU’s top officials are held accountable for election fraud?

Well, here’s your chance.

A recent article in the San Francisco Appeal laid down lots of evidence that SEIU-UHW’s Leon Chow violated California’s election laws. 

However… it’s not clear if state officials actually saw the article plus the many court documents, voter registration records, etc that were linked to it.

That’s where you can help!

Thanks to the magic of the internet, members of the public can make sure that California’s “Election Fraud Investigation Unit” -- which is part of the Secretary of State’s office -- is totally aware of the article about Chow.

Here’s what you need to do:  fill out this two-page form and either fax or mail it to the contact info that’s noted at the bottom of the form.

In case you’re not convinced that Chow committed voter-registration and election fraud, check out the following press release. It was issued by the Secretary of State in a case that’s virtually identical to Chow’s situation, which involved Leon casting votes in San Francisco's elections even though he lived in a completely different county.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Is SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow in Hiding?

Is Leon hiding in his condo closet?

Leon Chow -- a top SEIU-UHW official who’s a candidate for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors -- is officially in hiding.

Eleven days ago, the San Francisco Appeal printed this article detailing apparent fraudulent voting and other felonies committed by Chow. One day later, Chow began interviewing criminal defense lawyers, according to a source inside SEIU, and was more nervous than a turkey at Thanksgiving.

Two days later, Chow’s handlers cancelled the "kickoff event" for his election campaign.

Next, Leon’s campaign website -- www.LeonChowForSupervisor.com -- suddenly disappeared from the worldwide web! 

Here’s what Chow’s website used to look like:

And here’s what it looks like today:

Apparently, all of these developments took place after Dave Regan held a series of tension-filled meetings with legions of SEIU's lawyers, campaign consultants and deep-pocketed business executives.

Despite the fact that Chow is officially “toast,” a source reports that Regan recently held a conference call during which he pledged to continue his efforts to unseat Supervisor John Avalos, whom Chow was supposed to challenge in San Francisco’s November elections. Avalos is the incumbent supervisor who’s supported by the city’s progressive movement and virtually all of its unions… except for SEIU-UHW, which is closely wedded to the Chamber of Commerce.

So what’s next on Dave Regan’s list of “genius” moves? Tasty expects he’s frantically searching under his purple couch for another “puppet” candidate to fraudulently foist on San Francisco voters. And if that doesn’t work, perhaps Regan my simply ask his new partner, CEO Duane Dauner of the California Hospital Association, to run against Avalos.

Whatever the case, Tasty hears that Regan’s latest electoral disaster will undoubtedly spark new financial concerns among SEIU-UHW’s members. They recently saw Regan flush an estimated $5.5 million down the toilet in his failed campaign to place two flawed initiatives on the California ballot.

And during his Chow-gate scandal, “Diamond Dave” reportedly poured wheel-barrows of union members’ money into Chow’s failed candidacy, including funds for campaign consultants, opinion polls, offices, websites, campaign staff, etc. 

Now that Leon has completed his felonious faceplant, Regan may try to use SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to hire criminal defense lawyers for Leon, which would be a massive misappropriation of members’ money.

But hey… don’t put such violations past Dangerous Dave. In 2008, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that Regan had illegally funneled thousands of dollars of union members’ dues money into a union election in Nevada.

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Federal Lawsuit: SEIU-UHW Backed Drug-Snorting Supervisor over Worker

Check this out. An SEIU-UHW member in the San Francisco Bay Area has sued both SEIU-UHW and Kaiser Permanente for working hand-in-glove to fire her after she blew the whistle on her Kaiser supervisor who was snorting crystal meth on the job and acting in a hostile, erratic way towards workers.

And that’s not all. The methamphetamine-snorting supervisor happened to be in charge of the Admitting Department at Kaiser South San Francisco Medical Center… meaning she was actually responsible for admitting patients into the hospital!

The allegations are contained in a federal lawsuit filed two weeks ago in U.S. District Court for Northern California. A full copy is pasted below.

The lawsuit will undoubtedly strike a chord with SEIU-UHW members who describe how SEIU prefers to lay down for the Boss rather than fight for workers. According to the lawsuit, SEIU-UHW officials did nothing to protect the workers against Kaiser’s illegal retaliation. Instead, SEIU-UHW reportedly assisted the drug-snorting boss even after she ordered the worker’s unjust suspension and firing.

So... is this what Dave Regan and John August mean when they say their partnership with Kaiser is so “21st century?” Tasty wonders if they’ll soon be copying other “innovative” strategies pioneered by Enron and the Sinaloa Cartel.

Here are some details from the lawsuit:

The suit accuses Kaiser of “wrongful termination” and charges SEIU-UHW with breaching its “duty of fair representation” to the worker. Among other allegations, the suit says SEIU officials failed to enforce a basic provision of the union contract that says: “No employee shall be disciplined or discharged without just cause.”

According to the lawsuit, workers repeatedly observed their supervisor with a rolled up bill in her nose as she snorted meth at her desk in the Admitting Department at the Kaiser hospital.

In October of 2010, seven of the Admitting Department’s staff delivered a letter of complaint to Martha Gilmore, a top Kaiser executive who’s the Medical Group Administrator of The Permanente Medical Group. Afterwards, Kaiser officials -- including Diane Keefer -- staged a cover-up for their meth-loving colleague and then began retaliating against the workers.

One worker, who’s now suing Kaiser and SEIU-UHW, was unjustly accused of time-card fraud when she went to a scheduled doctors appointment. Later, her meth-snorting supervisor accused her of “unprofessional conduct” even though the worker had a spotless employment record. Ultimately, Kaiser officials unjustly fired the worker.

So where was the worker’s union, SEIU-UHW?

According to the lawsuit, SEIU-UHW officials refused to pursue the worker’s grievance through the steps of the union’s grievance procedure. A “Union representative” told the worker that…
“…her case had no merit,” without any further explanation, and that the union was withdrawing her grievance. Thereafter, defendant Union failed to make a demand for arbitration and instead permitted the time for doing so to lapse. (p. 9)
The lawsuit continues with the following discussion of SEIU-UHW (which it calls “defendant Union”), “Ms. Taylor” (the meth-snorting supervisor) and the “plaintiff” (the worker who was unjustly fired):
Further, defendant Union’s investigation of plaintiff’s grievance and right to arbitrate was handled in a perfunctory and disingenuous manner, in complete disregard of plaintiff’s contractual and statutory right not to be discharged except for just cause. Despite knowledge and ample evidence of Ms. Taylor’s drug use and retaliatory actions against plaintiff, the defendant Union failed to conduct any type of meaningful investigation or challenge to plaintiff’s termination. Nor did the defendant Union make any reasonable efforts to obtain documentation to rebut the phony allegations of time fraud being leveled against the plaintiff. Instead, defendant Union acquiesced in plaintiff’s discharge for its own secret ulterior motives in breach of its duty to fairly represent the plaintiff. During the course of its handling of plaintiff’s grievance and her request that the Union demand arbitration, several union representatives were openly hostile towards the plaintiff, and/or indifferent. Defendant Union has never provided reasons for its decision and conclusion that plaintiff’s case “had no merit,” and ignored strong evidence to the contrary. (p. 9 emphasis added)
The lawsuit goes on to describe the multiple ways in which SEIU-UHW officials breached their obligation to fairly represent the worker. For example, it describes how a “union representative” actually gave the meth-snorting supervisor “a document written by plaintiff not intended to be shared with management.” (p. 10)

The lawsuit seeks “punitive damages” from both SEIU-UHW and Kaiser Permanente.

So what happened to the drug-snorting supervisor? According to the lawsuit, officials from Kaiser and SEIU protected her for nearly two years until she was finally fired in an apparent vindication of the workers’ original complaint about her on-the-job meth habit.  Too bad SEIU officials couldn’t even mount a similar defense of their own dues-paying member who courageously blew the whistle on widespread abuses!