Monday, January 7, 2013

SEIU's Tyrone Freeman on Trial; Six-Figure Payout to SEIU's Steve Trossman Was Reportedly Hush Money

Here’s the latest on SEIU’s Tyrone Freeman, who was indicted last July on 15 criminal counts including embezzlement, theft of union assets, mail fraud, and false tax returns.

According to the U.S. District Court’s website, Freeman’s trial is set to begin tomorrow, January 8, at 8:30am in Courtroom 680 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building at 255 East Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles. (More reporting below.)

Tasty expects that the opening statements by prosecutors and Freeman’s attorneys will be quite interesting. What sort of defense strategy will Freeman’s attorneys mount? One clear option: to show the jury that SEIU’s top officials were fully aware of Freeman’s corruption for many years, didn’t lift a finger to stop him from stealing millions of dollars from workers… and even orchestrated a cover-up to hide Freeman’s corruption from SEIU’s members and the public.

Below, Tasty has posted documents that detail SEIU’s six-figure payment of alleged “hush money” to Steve Trossman following his cover-up operation to hide Freeman’s corruption scandal from union members and the public.

So what did SEIU’s officials know about Freeman’s corruption and when did they know it? These facts seem quite clear. Tasty earlier posted excerpts from an explosive court deposition in which a top SEIU official, Jim Philliou, testified that he learned of Freeman’s corruption in 2001 and immediately reported it to Eliseo Medina’s Chief of Staff and Tom Woodruff. Medina is SEIU’s Secretary Treasurer and Woodruff is an Executive Vice President of SEIU.

Despite Philliou’s action, SEIU officials allowed Freeman to continue robbing workers for SEVEN MORE YEARS until Freeman was finally busted in 2008 by an investigative journalist at the Los Angeles Times. In fact, Philliou testified that after he reported Freeman’s corruption to SEIU bigwigs in 2001, the SEIU officials actually eliminated their financial oversight of Freeman, thereby allowing Freeman to steal faster and more easily.

SEIU's Steve Trossman
And here’s a new piece of SEIU’s corruption scandal that’s not been previously discussed. Sources report that after news of Freeman’s corruption spread throughout the executive suites at the Purple Palace in 2001, SEIU officials -- including Andy Stern -- enlisted SEIU’s top communications official, Steve Trossman, to run a cover-up operation to hide Freeman’s corruption from SEIU’s members and the public.

Years later, in late 2008, Trossman was pushed out of his job as the Purple Palace’s Communications Director. SEIU’s head honchos needed Trossman to remain absolutely silent about the cover-up operation, so they reportedly purchased Trossman’s silence with a massive payout of hush money. How much? Here’s a hint: in 2009, Trossman pocketed at least a quarter million dollars from SEIU.

Records of these payments are buried in lengthy reports that SEIU filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. In the reports (which are excerpted below), SEIU falsely described its alleged hush-money payouts to Trossman as “consulting fees expenses,” sources say.

Take a look at the records and see what you think. You’ll see that on January 6, 2009, SEIU paid Trossman $60,000 in “consulting fees expenses.” Several weeks later, SEIU dropped another $60,000 into Trossman’s pocket, according to these records.

Hmm… so how many consultants get paid $120,000 in “consulting fees” in just several weeks?

And that’s not all. In 2009, Trossman pocketed another $30,000 in “consulting” payments from SEIU Local 721, which has careened from one scandal to the next under officials loyal to Andy Stern and Mary Kay Henry.

Finally, during 2009, SEIU’s Dave Regan -- the Stern-appointed trustee running SEIU-UHW -- paid Trossman $85,000 for communications work under the trusteeship.

Trossman’s total take-home pay for 2009? At least quarter million dollars.

Not bad for a PR hack who allegedly covered up federal crimes by Freeman, Stern and Co. In fact, an article by the LA Times cites an unnamed source who’s “close to SEIU” and has personal knowledge of Trossman’s role in SEIU’s cover-up in 2001. 

When the LA Times questioned Trossman about his role, Trossman was suddenly afflicted with severe memory problems, saying he “remembers little about those reports, including whether he had alerted Stern to them.” Here’s the full excerpt from the LA Times article:

Another Stern spokesman, Steve Trossman, has said the SEIU had received no allegations of financial irregularities by Freeman until The Times raised questions about the local's finances last month. But a source close to the union has said that Trossman was informed six years ago of some concerns about Freeman's spending habits and his having fathered a child with Planells, who was then a union staffer.

Trossman has said he remembers little about those reports, including whether he had alerted Stern to them.

So what’s in store for Trossman? Well, he may be one of the SEIU officials who’s under continuing investigation by federal prosecutors for his links to SEIU’s multi-million-dollar crime spree. Stay tuned. And if you attend Freeman's trial, please send Tasty your reports about the all of the courtroom drama!