Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Former SEIU Leader to Feds: It's Time to Pursue Top SEIU Officials in the Tyrone Freeman Corruption Scandal

Check this out. 

Tasty has obtained a five-page memo that was recently sent to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Labor by a former president of one of SEIU’s local unions.

In a memo dated September 27, 2013, Mike Wilzoch implores the feds to hold SEIU’s head honchos accountable for their roles in the massive corruption scandal centered on Tyrone Freeman.

Wilzoch's memo does a compelling job at connecting the dots. 

Here are some excerpts. The full memo is below.

This is to follow up on our phone conversation. Thank you for agreeing to pass on this communication to those responsible for pursuing this case in the DOL. I’m also copying in 2 DOJ attorneys I have communicated with before on this case who are also in a position to act on these issues:

I have two primary concerns:

1)         As I have expressed to US Attorneys involved in the investigation and successful prosecution of Freeman, he clearly relied on many union officials to enable and hide from the membership and public his criminal activities. There is credible testimony on the record that several of the highest SEIU officials are among those who were directly informed of Freeman’s behavior as early as 2001. There is also the fact that it is a practical impossibility that other members of the SEIU Executive and many more in the chain of command from 2001 on did not know of the years of this abuse. Will they be held accountable?

Based on the evidence I reference below, and my long experience with many of the parties involved, I repeat that it is a practical impossibility that all of the members of the SEIU Executive and many more in the chain of command from 2001 on did not know of the years of this abuse. Some actively supported and enabled it to continue. Others failed in their duty to the workers not to knowingly allow a member to be harmed. If anyone had the courage of their convictions—and took their oaths and obligations under the law to be more important than their careers and rising paychecks—this could have been stopped in its tracks in long ago.

Who’s Wilzoch and why did he write the memo? Another excerpt:

I am a 23 year veteran of SEIU. I have served as an organizer, representative, director, and Union President. I knew personally many of the officials involved in this disaster besides Tyrone Freeman, including  Andy Stern, Eliseo Medina, Sheila Velasco, Tom Woodruff, Dave Regan, and a number of as-of-yet unnamed (to my knowledge) staffers and leaders of the SEIU International.

We have enough problems dealing with widespread illegal and unethical conduct from employers and the corporate elite. They don’t need any help right now from labor “leaders” who may have done great things once, but lost the plot and forgot just who it is who pays the bills, including their escalating compensation packages. When the abuse of poor homecare workers is handled as a PR problem, then those who knew about and/or enabled it feed a culture of arrogance, entitlement and corruption.

If they are not held accountable, they and everyone else learns that being well connected is more important than taking seriously the responsibility to advocate honestly and relentlessly for working people and our families. They not only continue to profit, sometimes extravagantly, from the honest work of the rank and file, but are also recycled through the labor movement.

For instance, Louis Jamerson, part of Freeman’s Beverly Hills crew listed above, is now a Deputy Trustee at the Local I helped build for 15 years—SEIU Local 105 in Denver. My salary as President was $40K/yr—a few bucks a week more than the staff I supervised. While all things change, I would like to hope that the poisonous culture of staff entitlement and disrespect for the workers at Freeman’s little shop of horrors—and elsewhere—is not spread more than it already has. He is just one notable symptom of a larger tragedy. This is a cancer which I have seen first-hand cause painful damage to the cause of justice for workers in this country—and the prospects for a principled and thriving labor movement—which is needed now more than ever. Please do everything in your power to pursue justice for these workers, no matter how high up the ladder the evidence leads.
Steve Trossman

What else is in Wilzoch’s memo?

Info about SEIU officials' involvement in Freeman’s crime spree.

For example, Wilzoch discusses Steve Trossman’s role in reportedly engineering a 2001 cover-up of Freeman’s corruption. In fact, Wilzoch points to “possible perjury” by Trossman.

Wilzoch also discusses testimony by Jim Philliou in which he describes -- under oath -- how he alerted top SEIU officials about Freeman’s corruption in 2001. 

Dave Kieffer
Which officials did Philliou alert?   

Dave Kieffer and Eliseo Medina’s Chief of Staff, Sheila Velasco, among others. 

According to Philliou, Kieffer later reported that SEIU had conducted “some type of audit” of Freeman’s spending, but didn’t find anything illegal.

Was Kieffer lying?

It sure looks like it. Wilzoch asks: If SEIU actually conducted an “audit,” why didn’t SEIU interview Philliou -- who was the one who first reported Freeman’s corruption? 

Interestingly, many of the SEIU officials who are involved in the Freeman corruption scandal are now tightly connected to Dave Regan. 

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan
Trossman became Regan’s “Director of Communications” after receiving a quarter-million-dollar payout from SEIU, which is rumored to be ‘hush money.’ Kieffer is SEIU-UHW’s “Director of Governmental Relations.” 

And Philliou has been working as a consultant for Regan and reportedly is now working inside Kaiser Permanente’s “Labor-Management Partnership.”

There’s lots more inside Wilzoch’s memo, which is pasted below.