Friday, March 29, 2019

Guess Who's Back? Shady Rickman... Again. WTF!?

In 2008, Rickman Jackson became a household name across Southern California after the Los Angeles Times revealed he’d stolen more than $30,000 from the low-wage homecare members of SEIU Local 2015.

At the time, Jackson served as the “Chief of Staff” of the union’s president, Tyrone Freeman. Together, they stole thousands of dollars from the union’s members. Jackson personally accompanied Tyrone on union-funded adventures to “the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills for $175 glasses of cognac” and other felonious funfests, including Freeman’s union-funded wedding at a Hawaiian resort.

Freeman was sentenced to 33 months in a federal prison. And Jackson was stripped of his union position.

What’s the latest?

SEIU Local 2015 -- the scene of Rickman’s corruption -- just hired Rickman as the Director of its Organizing Department, according to a source inside SEIU Local 2015.


Union officials reportedly announced Jackson’s hiring during a member conference call on February 25, 2019. Tasty’s source provides the following details:
His hiring was announced in a member conference call that takes place every Monday. This particular call, on February 25, made no mentioned of his hiring until the end of the call, with no discussion for members. The following week, April Verrett, president of 2015, discussed the hiring of Rickman where several members stated their opposition to his hiring because of what happened with Tyrone. Make no mistake, April did not say what Rickman did and only classified his actions as an error like a clerical mistake, because Rickman signed something he shouldn't have signed. She tried to justify his hiring as part of the union's Restorative Justice agenda, as if Rickman's corruption could compare to racist policies that make millions of people of color criminals rather than Rickman stealing from home care workers. Members were also angry there was no transparency because the executive board did not about this hiring, much less a discussion. April lied when she said the decision to hire Rickman was also because it was hard to find a director for external organizing. She said the union had been looking for 18 months for a director to fill the vacancy but the director had actually left around September 2018. When she was told Rickman had not re-paid the local, she denied this but did not provide any evidence. She said she would provide the evidence at a later time and to the member who asked instead of the general membership.

For those who may have forgotten the details of Rickman’s corruption, reporter Paul Pringle described them in a 2008 Los Angeles Times article that detailed the findings of an investigation led by former state Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp and an SEIU audit.

Freeman steered vast amounts of union money into union-created nonprofit organizations, which then used fake transactions to deposit cash into the pockets of Tyrone and others. One of these nonprofit organizations -- the Long-Term Care Housing Corp -- made lump-sum payments to Freeman while also paying Rickman $2,500 a month to supposedly “lease” Rickman’s personal home to serve as the organization’s offices. All told, Rickman pocketed $33,500 from this scam.

(Paul Pringle, “SEIU accuses local union leader of misusing funds,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2008.)

In October of 2008, SEIU stripped Rickman of his position and “exiled” him to Canada while keeping him on payroll. (Paul Pringle, “SEIU leader loses post over scandal,” Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2008.)

What idiot at SEIU would hire someone who stole tens of thousands of dollars from the union’s own hard-working members?

Its mind boggling, right?

SEIU’s leaders are clearly pathetic, but this level of corruption and disdain for its members is shocking even to those of us who’ve waded neck-deep through purple muck and mire for years.