Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SEIU's Six-Figure Purple Parachute for Anna Burger

As SEIU’s Andy Stern anxiously awaits a response from his billionaire benefactor, Stern’s partner Anna Burger has enjoyed a soft landing courtesy of a six-figure purple parachute.

According to federal records, SEIU paid Burger a total of $551,145 in consulting fees during the two years following her resignation from SEIU after she lost an election to succeed Andy Stern.

More than $100,000 of this total was funneled to Burger through a for-profit corporation that she set up at her home -- a company that appears to have been designed specifically for that purpose (see below).

Here's what happened:

In April of 2010, Stern announced his resignation from SEIU, thereby sparking a power struggle between Burger and Mary Kay Henry to succeed him. The following month, Henry won a vote of SEIU’s International Executive Board and took over Stern's corner office at the Purple Palace.

In August of 2010, Burger -- who had continued to serve as SEIU’s Secretary-Treasurer --announced her resignation from SEIU.
Stern and Burger
Days later, the purple gravy train began to flow -- not directly to Burger, but instead to a company called “AB Action Now LLC,” which Burger registered at her home soon after her resignation, according to incorporation documents from the District of Columbia. 

Federal records show that SEIU delivered monthly checks of $24,162 to Burger for nearly two years, which basically allowed her to duplicate the quarter-million-dollar annual salary that she received before resigning her job as SEIU’s second-highest officer.

The first $116,569 of SEIU's payouts came through "AB Action Now LLC."  Later, SEIU made “consulting” payments directly in Burger’s name and also sent them to Burger's home.

The payments raise interesting questions.

After the hotly contested 2010 election, Mary Kay Henry marginalized and fired a number of Burger's supporters in a post-election purge, including one of SEIU’s Executive Vice Presidents, Mitch Ackerman.

So why did Henry pay more than a half million dollars to her main rival for SEIU's top spot?

One possibility: the payouts were a kind of “hush money” to keep Burger from challenging Mary Kay Henry in SEIU’s 2012 officer elections. In fact, Burger’s monthly $24,162 checks arrived like clockwork in her mailbox until 2012. However, in June of 2012 -- when SEIU’s internal elections had been completed and Henry had been elected to a full four-year term of office -- Burger’s checks suddenly stopped, according to federal records.

And, like so many episodes inside the Purple Palace, the payments raise obvious questions about SEIU’s top officials... who appear to be far more comfortable hanging out with billionaires and funneling wads of cash to dummy for-profit companies than actually fighting corporations. 

Incorporation Record for AB Action Now LLC

Excerpt from SEIU's DOL Form LM-2 for 2010

Excerpt from SEIU's DOL Form LM-2 for 2011