Thursday, August 2, 2012

Federal Prosecutors: We're Investigating SEIU Officials Linked to Freeman

Tasty hears that California’s healthcare workers greeted Tyrone Freeman’s indictment with cheers, jubilation and continuing anger. Here are two individual's comments that capture the mood:

 I rarely wish jail on people, but I hope they throw the book at this arrogant mother fucker.  
Finally!! Who is next? Andy Stern and Ana Burger. For sure they have so much to report to IRS and NLRB                        

Who's next? Good question. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the Feds are actively investigating SEIU officials connected to Freeman’s alleged crimes:
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, declined to comment on whether any other SEIU officials could be charged, citing a continuing investigation.
Tasty believes the officials under investigation may include Andy Stern, Anna Burger, Dave Regan, Eliseo Medina, Mary Kay Henry, Dave Kieffer and Steve Trossman. In fact, Tasty has obtained documents that directly implicate top SEIU officials in Freeman’s massive corruption scandal. Tasty plans to post the information in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, the BNA’s “Daily Labor Report” offered additional coverage of Freeman’s indictment, including a summary of some of the recent corruption scandals involving SEIU’s officials. Here's an excerpt:
The Freeman scandal is just one of several that have tarnished the international union over the past five years, some involving leaders, including Freeman, appointed by former SEIU President Andy Stern.

During its investigation of Freeman, the union opened a separate investigation into the financial activities of Rickman Jackson, president of Healthcare Michigan, SEIU’s statewide local for health care workers, during the time when Jackson was employed as Freeman’s chief of staff.

Following the investigation, Jackson was removed from his positions as president of the local and a member of the international’s executive board, was barred from holding union office for three years, and agreed to make complete financial restitution under a settlement agreement reached with the international (199 DLR A-8, 10/15/08).

Annelle Grajeda, who was appointed president of Local 721 in Los Angeles by Stern, and was later elected international executive vice president of the union, stepped down from both those positions following internal allegations that the local paid money to Alejandro Stephens, a former boyfriend of Grajeda, in violation of a severance agreement he signed in 2007 (47 DLR A-7, 3/13/09).

Stephens, the former president of SEIU Local 660, later was sentenced to four months in prison and an additional three months of home confinement for his role in a scheme to defraud a nonprofit organization called the Voter Improvement Project (171 DLR A-14, 9/3/10). Stephens pleaded guilty in August 2009 to mail fraud and tax evasion charges (166 DLR A-13, 8/31/09).
And that's not all. The BNA doesn’t even mention other corruption scandals involving SEIU's Dave Holway, Janett Humphries, Byron Hobbs, Paul Varacalli, Sharon Frances-Moore… 

Rickman Jackson offers a poignant reminder about the culture of corruption that pervades SEIU. When Tyrone Freeman was president of SEIU Local 6434, Rickman was Tyrone Freeman’s "Chief of Staff" and personally accompanied Tyrone on union-funded adventures to “the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills for $175 glasses of cognac” and other felonious funfests. In 2007, Stern appointed Rickman -- fresh from his apprenticeship under Tyrone -- to serve as the president of SEIU's healthcare union in Michigan. In 2008, Rickman was nabbed by the Los Angeles Times for stealing more than $30,000 from SEIU’s members. 

So where’s Rickman today?

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry -- instead of punishing Rickman -- actually gave him a job at SEIU’s DC headquarters! Last year, she paid him more than $140,000, according to SEIU’s annual filing with the US Department of Labor. (Click on image below to enlarge.)

Rickman Jackson's Salary in 2011 from SEIU International (Source: DOL Form LM-2)
What does it say when SEIU's president allows one of its top officials to rob the union's members with impunity? (Imagine what would happen to you if you stole $30,000 from your employer!) Also, Rickman undoubtedly helped Freeman implement his criminal schemes while he was Chief of Staff at Local 6434.

Lastly, here’s the 15-page indictment of Freeman that was handed down by a federal grand jury. While Freeman’s crimes were more numerous than the ones cited in the indictment, prosecutors reportedly decided to zero in on the ones that are easiest to prove to a jury. It turns out that based on these ‘slam-dunk’ charges alone, Freeman could be sentenced to as many as 200 years in jail.

Here’s the full text of the indictment.