CA union boss pays wife and mother out of union treasury

Regular readers will know that I hate corruption, especially by elected officials and unions. The press seems to love the stories about the elected officials, but rarely focuses on the unions. The LA Times breaks the mold:

Advocates for low-wage caregivers called on authorities Monday to investigate the spending practices of a Los Angeles union and a related charity that have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by the wife and mother-in-law of the labor organization’s leader. …

It gets tastier:

In addition, the union last year spent nearly $300,000 on a Four Seasons Resorts golf tournament, a Beverly Hills cigar club, restaurants such as Morton’s and a consulting contract with the William Morris Agency, the Hollywood talent shop, records show.

The union paid a combined* $219,000 in 2006 and 2007 to a video firm whose principals include a former employee of the local, according to Labor Department filings and interviews. And *a now-defunct minor league basketball team that Freeman’s brother-in-law coached received $16,000 for what the union described as public relations.

The local paid about $106,000 to a firm called the Filming, for which no incorporation record, business license, address or telephone listing could be found.


The Times reported Saturday that the payments to the company owned by Freeman’s wife, Pilar Planells, were among the local’s largest single expenses last year, at about $178,000. Planells has said she did not personally profit.

With all that money, no wonder they could afford such a swank destination wedding.

For more, try the LAT story from the weekend too.