Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are SEIU's D.C. Officials Next in Line after Tyrone Freeman's Conviction?

The Purple Palace in D.C.

Sources report that the top officials at SEIU’s headquarters are extremely anxious following the conviction of Tyrone Freeman, their longtime ally, on 14 criminal counts in federal court.

The officials apparently fear that the feds will quickly pivot from their conviction of Freeman in order to pursue a fresh round of indictments against SEIU officials who aided and abetted Freeman’s crime spree.

Who’s on the feds’ list? Tasty believes it includes Andy Stern, Mary Kay Henry, Eliseo Medina, Tom Woodruff, Dave Regan, Dave Kieffer, Steve Trossman, Rickman Jackson and Sheila Velasco.

So what do we know about these officials’ roles in the Freeman corruption scandal?

A number of key facts are already documented in sworn testimony delivered by an SEIU official named Jim Philliou. In a 212-page deposition, Philliou testified that he informed SEIU officials about Freeman’s corruption in 2001-- a full seven years before Freeman was busted by the Los Angeles Times! In fact, Philliou was so convinced about Freeman’s corruption that, back in 2001, he refused to continue co-signing Freeman’s checks on behalf of his higher-ups at SEIU.

Last summer, the feds told the Wall Street Journal they were actively conducting “a continuing investigation” into SEIU officials and “declined to comment on whether any other SEIU officials would be charged” given that their investigation of the SEIU corruption scnadal was still underway.  

In 2010, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the FBI was investigating SEIU’s Andy Stern for his role in corruption inside SEIU. Here’s how the article began:

WASHINGTON — The FBI and the U.S. Labor Department are investigating prominent labor leader Andy Stern in their probe of corruption at the Service Employees International Union, according to two people who have been interviewed by federal agents.

Meanwhile, Freeman is set to be sentenced on April 22. That gives him three months to rat out higher-up SEIU officials in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.

Why didn't Freeman expose the SEIU officials during his trial?

The explanation may lie in speculation that SEIU cut a deal to buy Freeman’s silence during the trial in exchange for cash to pay his attorneys.

Here’s what Tasty knows…

During the trial, Freeman surprised observers when he appeared in court with three super-expensive attorneys at his side. Each of the attorneys charges at least $1,500 per hour. One was flown in from Washington, DC. A second parachuted in from Chicago. Who are they? Here’s a court document with their names and info.

Kelly Kramer
Two of the attorneys work for Mayer Brown, a global law firm with offices in 20 cities across the world. Kelly Kramer is a co-chair of the firm’s “White Collar Defense” unit and has defended senior White House staffers and a US Congressman in criminal investigations, according to his biography. Kramer also defends business execs in Europe, Asia and South America.

Meanwhile, William Michael Jr. is a former Assistant US Attorney (that is, a federal prosecutor) who switched sides and now defends executives involved in “complex federal white collar and regulatory defense, civil and criminal health care fraud, antitrust and complex internal investigations.” And… he’s a former Green Beret, according to this press release.
William Michael, Jr.

In other words, these ain’t no dime-store lawyers. They’re top-dollar attorneys who usually work for fatcat business execs and big-time politicians.

So… how can Freeman afford these attorneys?

He can’t. Freeman reportedly has very little money after being forced to pay off huge settlements resulting from multiple civil lawsuits against him. And he’s not earning much money these days by selling vitamins and cigars at golf courses.

Meanwhile, his wife -- Pilar Planells -- owes $130,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest to the IRS as part of her plea deal with the feds, which allowed her to escape criminal prosecution. In fact, during Freeman’s recent ten-day trial, Planells was represented by a public defender because she apparently couldn’t afford a private attorney.
So who’s paying for Freeman’s fancy-pants attorneys? Tasty believes it’s SEIU.

And why would SEIU officials agree to pay Freeman’s bills? To buy his silence during the trial. Tasty can practically hear the telephone conversation between Freeman and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry that inked this dirty deal:
Tyrone:  Mary Kay, we got a situation over here. I’m going on trial soon, and my wife is telling me I should just throw you and Andy under the bus so I can stay out of jail.
Mary Kay:  Oh yeah?
Tyrone:  Listen. Your hands are just as dirty as mine. And if I get up there on the stand, I can sing like a birdie. Name names. It’s not gonna be pretty. The whole Purple Palace will end up in the pen.
Mary Kay: I get it. So what do you want?
Tyrone: I need help so I can stay out of jail. Have you ever thought about spending years of your life in a federal penitentiary?
Mary Kay:  Okay… How about this? We’ll hire the best lawyers in the whole country to defend you. Top notch attorneys. We’ll pay all the bills. But... you can’t say a single word about me or Andy or any of us at SEIU. And if I even get a whiff that you’re gonna turn state’s evidence, we’ll pull those attorneys so fast it’ll make your head spin. Understand?
Tyrone: It’s a deal.

So… if that’s how the deal went down, the next big question is whether SEIU officials continue to hold enough leverage over Freeman in order to keep him quiet. Meanwhile, what kind of deal will prosecutors offer to Freeman so that he blows the whistle on his Purple Palace pals?  Stay tuned!