Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Document from SEIU Corruption Trial: Mustangs, Massages and Poolside Parties

The criminal trial of SEIU’s Tyrone Freeman is providing an interesting peek into the wealth and privileges enjoyed by SEIU’s top officials. Below, Tasty pasted excerpts from an 82-page “Trial Memorandum” prepared by federal prosecutors. A full copy of the document is posted at the end. The details include hotel massages, $600 in charges to a Hawaiian poolside bar, a Hummer...

As more and more details emerge from SEIU’s multi-million-dollar corruption scandal, they point to the trial’s “$66,000 question:” Which of SEIU’s top officials are complicit in Freeman’s purple crime spree?

As Tasty reported earlier, an SEIU official named Jim Philliou testified in 2009 that top SEIU officials knew about Freeman’s corruption some seven years before Freeman was eventually nabbed by the Los Angeles Times. During those seven years, Freeman literally stole, embezzled and plundered between $14-$15 million from SEIU's members, according to various civil and criminal suits.

The feds’ “Trial Memorandum” gives additional vindication to Sal Rosselli and his team of rank-and-file leaders. These reformers were targeted by the Purple Palace after they spoke out about the culture of corruption inside SEIU… a culture that favors back-room deals with fat-cat bosses… and a culture that rewards corrupt union officials like Freeman for their blind loyalty to the Purple Palace.

Freeman was appointed to his position atop SEIU Local 6434 by Andy Stern, who later ordered Freeman, Dave Regan and other officials to wage a multi-million-dollar attack campaign against Rosselli and his reformers.

Here are some excerpts from the feds' 82-page document describing Freeman's lifestyle. Freeman was a top lieutenant for Stern and Mary Kay Henry and a member of SEIU’s International Executive Board.

Cars, cars and more purple cars.

So… imagine you’re the appointed president of an SEIU union whose members are homecare workers who earn only $9 an hour. How many personal cars would you bill to your union’s low-wage members?

Zero? Let's hope so. According to the feds:  “Defendant Freeman had a Ford Mustang and a Ford Explorer assigned to him from the Local’s fleet...” (p. 12) Translation: SEIU Local 6434 paid for two separate cars for Freeman. Plus, prosecutors report that Freeman also had a Land Rover, which he told bank officials was also paid for by SEIU. WTF?

Tropical purple wedding.

Here’s the feds’ description of Freeman’s Hawaiian wedding, which included worker-funded frills like a Hummer, a stay at a luxury resort hotel, massages, and $600 in charges to the “pool bar” at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club:

In August 2006, Freeman used his Local 6434 American Express credit card to pay for personal expenses related to his wedding ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii, all of which were unrelated to any business of Local 6434. At his wedding ceremony, which took place on August 13, 2006, Freeman purportedly married his executive assistant at the Local, Pilar Planells. Freeman however, was still married to his first wife at the time of the 2006 wedding. Nevertheless, there was a Hawaii wedding ceremony in August 2006, and many of the expenses related to it were charged to the Union. Specifically, Freeman used Local 6434’s American Expense card to pay for transactions such as hotel accommodations from August 8, 2006 through August 14, 2006 at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club (“the Marriott”), over $600 in charges at the pool bar of the Marriott, a 60-minute massage at the Marriott, one $330.99 meal at the Marriott, and the rental of a Hummer H3 SUV at Budget Ren-A-Car in Honolulu. The total charges were $8,105.05. (p. 11)

Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club
Despicable, right? So how did Freeman explain his sudden departure from the union so he could wed his executive assistant? Here’s a doozy. According to the feds, Freeman gave different explanations to different union staffers. He told some staffers he was attending an “executive management” class at the University of Hawaii. And he told other staffers he was in “Kazakstan to monitor an election for the International Foundation of Electoral Systems.” (Tasty is not kidding. It’s in the document below.). Meanwhile, Freeman’s computerized office calendar reported he was in Israel. (p. 12)

Football, anyone?

It turns out that Freeman used his SEIU credit card for lots of things. Cigar bars. Fancy meals. Expensive liquor. And to go to a pro football game. But not just any game. According to the feds, Freeman took “a trip to the February 2006 Pro Bowl football game in Hawaii that he charged to the union American Express card.” The total cost to SEIU’s members: $3,678 (p. 14)

Defrauding the fraudsters. 

Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo
Check this out. Freeman even defrauded Countrywide Bank, the scandal-plagued financial institution that helped crash the U.S. housing market in 2007 and set off the Great Recession that’s hammering millions of workers and their families. How’d Freeman do it? He lied to bank officials in order to secure a $700,000 mortgage loan from Countrywide, according to prosecutors. (p. 12)

That’s just the beginning. The document goes on to detail phony SEIU consulting agreements, back-dated documents, “the CUHW embezzlement scheme,” the “Long Term Care Housing Corporation embezzlement scheme,” tax fraud… Here's the full 82 pages.