Sunday, March 17, 2013

Andy Stern's 'Bromance' with Billionaire Financier Shines Spotlight on SEIU's Backroom Deals with Bosses

SEIU's Andy Stern
Andy Stern is once again shining a spotlight on SEIU's corrupt practice of making backroom deals with corporate executives.
Earlier this week, the New York Times published an article about the latest controversy surrounding  Siga Technologies, a pharmaceutical company controlled by billionaire financier Ron Perelman.

Perelman -- a cigar-smoking capitalist who's one of the wealthiest men on earth -- has been Stern's sugar daddy ever since Andy inked a 2006 backroom deal with Perelman that sold out thousands of low-wage security guards in Philadelphia who were employed at one of Perelman's companies, AlliedBarton. The Huffington Post and the Philadelphia CityPaper, among others, have covered that story.

In 2009, Perelman repaid Stern by appointing him to the board of directors of Siga Technologies, just weeks after Stern resigned his position as the President of SEIU. Stern immediately pocketed 35,000 stock options in Siga.

Ron Perelman
Next, Perelman donated a wad of money to Columbia University in New York City in order to create a custom-made job for Stern called the “Ronald O. Perelman Senior Fellow” at Columbia’s business school.

Last week, the New York Times revealed the latest chapter of this tale of corruption. According to the Times, Siga just inked a highly controversial $463 million contract with the federal government. Under the deal, the federal government will pay sky-high prices for Siga's unproven smallpox medicine, and then stockpile the medicine... even though experts cited by the Times say the medicine is unnecessary.

Observers say Stern relied on the personal relationships he developed while president of SEIU in order to help lobby federal officials for the $463 million contract.

Here are some excerpts from the New York Times article, published on March 12.
[T]he purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price…

The deal will transform the finances of Siga, which is controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, a billionaire financier, philanthropist and takeover specialist.

[T]he government is paying more than $200 for each course of treatment. Siga argues that the price is a fair return on years of investment…

But when stockpiling a smallpox drug was first proposed in 2001 after the Sept. 11 and anthrax attacks, it was expected to cost only $5 to $10 per course, said Dr. Donald A. Henderson, who led a government advisory panel on biodefense in the wake of those attacks…

Dr. Richard H. Ebright, a bioweapons expert at Rutgers University, said there was little need for so much [of Siga’s smallpox medicine.]… “Is it appropriate to stockpile it? Absolutely,” he said. “Is it appropriate to stockpile two million doses? Absolutely not. Twenty thousand seems like the right number.”
…Dr. Henderson and Dr. Philip Russell, who formerly headed the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and served on the advisory panel with him, said they expected the government to pay much less for an antiviral drug since they cost little to make and the alternative, vaccines, cost the government $3 a dose. “If they’re talking $250 a course, they’re a bunch of thieves,” Dr. Russell said
…Dr. Eric A. Rose, the president of Siga and a vice president of Mr. Perelman’s holding company, MacAndrews and Forbes, acknowledged that the drug cost little to make… He said that Mr. Perelman had invested $80 million in the company through years of research with no sales.
The latest chapter of Stern's business 'bromance' with Perelman raises plenty of questions.

First of all, why the f*ck is the President Emeritus of SEIU running around with one of the richest men in the world to lubricate giant business deals with the federal government? Aren't labor leaders supposed to fight for workers, not corporate titans?

Secondly, what were the terms of Stern's secret deal with Perelman in 2006? Stern, who was President of SEIU at the time, yanked SEIU's support from thousands of low-wage security guards who were trying to form a union at Perelman's company. What else did Perelman promise Stern, besides what we already know?

How much money will Stern personally pocket as a result of Siga's $463 million deal with the federal government?

Did Stern use his rolodex of government contacts -- acquired during his tenure as president of SEIU -- to lobby for a $463 million contract for Siga that will personally benefit Stern?

Why has SEIU's Mary Kay Henry failed to take any action against Stern's legal and ethical violations? Is she getting paid off, too?

How many other secret deals have SEIU's officials made with corporate execs to sell out workers in exchange for untold personal benefits?