We share with you each month a list of union officials and employees indicted or convicted for misusing union funds for personal gain in the Sticky Fingers section. Keep in mind that union embezzlement and fund mismanagement is a different animal from the same activity occurring in a corporate setting. Within a business environment, the stolen money is derived from legitimate business activities – from the operating profits of the company. In a union context however, the stolen funds are mostly derived from dues withheld directly from the paychecks of hard-working Americans, and for whom those funds are supposed to be used on behalf of their welfare. In addition to the Sticky Fingers list this month, we thought we’d share a few detailed examples of this egregious theft.
David Sager, the former president of United Steelworkers Local 5000 (which represented only about 100 employees) was indicted on nine counts of embezzlement or theft, 18 counts of mail fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of making false statements to law enforcement officials. It is still not clear how much money was involved, but is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Robert Smith III, a former dockworker and business agent with International Longshoremen’s Association Local 970, set his sights a little higher. Over a ten-year stretch, he stole $1,072,668.30 of union funds.