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O’CONNOR US ATTORNEY MAGGIE CARTER 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? 2) Freeman’s despicable behavior goes beyond the criminal activity for which he was convicted—but also involves violations of labor law and DOL standards which I presume were outside of the scope of the DOJ’s investigation. These include writing the Local Union’s constitution to make it absurdly impossible for anyone to challenge Freeman or his hand-picked slate when he ran for election. The LA Times reported on 8/16/08 that the DOL was investigating complaints about these provisions— which required challengers to submit petitions with 4,800 members’ signatures—of home care workers spread across the state in only 3 weeks to be eligible to contest Freeman’s continued reign. This constitution had to be approved by the International, so claims that they were shocked, shocked by illegal and unethical conduct are as credible as their hapless public position that no one at the IU knew about any wrongdoing until the Times reports. Will the case end with whatever scope the DOJ’s defines as their purview? Or will the other dishonorable and actionable activities of so many others be held up to the scrutiny of the rules which govern labor unions? Freeman is scheduled to be sentenced on October 7th. It goes without saying that, as he is facing a long prison sentence, right now would be the time he will have the “motivation” to come clean to reduce his well-earned severe penalties—while facilitating holding accountable all of those he knew were involved in his egregious conduct. -1-
With the sole exception of SEIU possibly being his silent “partner” in paying his massive legal bills— he has every reason to cooperate. Knowing Freeman, he would need little pressure to give up the who’s who in the Union who he knows first-hand offered their acquiescence, support, or at minimum hid their knowledge of his nefarious activities. I mean no disrespect in raising what I hope are pro forma issues. Perhaps they have already been examined and taken as far as all of the witnesses and evidence allows. If so, I beg your pardon. If not, I would be very concerned as to why the DOJ, DOL, or others who announced ongoing investigations, didn’t pull these threads to dramatically minimize the possibility that working people are ever subjected to this truly evil conduct again. I have already heard back from US Rep George Miller’s staff that his Education and Labor Committee passed the baton to the DOJ and did not nor will not hold the hearings they referred to in 2008. 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. While there are too many potential witness interviews, documents, and other leads supporting my concerns to list here, there are three at this late hour that I believe are worth some serious scrutiny. (Again, apologies if these have been examined and followed up on fully): A) LA Times—Questions to answer 1) Included in the award winning reporting were startling references which included SEIU spokesperson Steve Trossman. These bear directly on the issue of the International Union’s role in enabling/covering up this scandal, their credibility, veracity, and possible perjury. Perhaps the most alarming words were Trossman’s own, which reflect ham handed attempts to use the “I have no recollection, Senator,” defense for himself and the Union. Some statements, including one made on behalf of SEIU President Andy Stern, were later flatly contradicted by the sworn testimony of another SEIU official*, in addition to a source whose statements make a lot more sense than the IU’s self-serving and unconvincing memory lapses—then denials. (*see testimony of Jim Philliou in B) 2) 9/9/08: In an e-mail, Stern spokesman Steve Trossman said: "As far as I can determine, the International Union has not received allegations concerning [Freeman's local]. If the International Union receives allegations about a local that warrant further action, we have internal union procedures for handling them." 3) 9/17/08: “A source close to the union said Trossman was informed six years ago of allegations involving Freeman's finances and personal relationships. It is unclear whether a review was undertaken at that time; Trossman said that the SEIU might have performed an audit of the local because of the allegations, but that he couldn't be sure. ” -2-
The source, who asked not to be identified because he feared retribution, said Trossman helped develop a strategy in 2002 to keep the allegations from embarrassing the SEIU at a time of epic membership growth. Trossman's efforts succeeded, the source said. Freeman's local continued to expand as part of SEIU President Andy Stern's much-celebrated campaign to organize entire industries state by state. Last week, Trossman said, "I don't remember exactly what happened" in 2002. Trossman said that he did remember a Times reporter calling him then about the allegations and that he believes he referred the inquiry to the local. Trossman said he did not talk to Freeman about the accusations, and does not recall whether Stern was informed. The source, who told of discussing the allegations with Trossman… In an e-mail, Trossman said the union was "reviewing records and conducting interviews" at the local but offered no details. In response to the July inquiries, Trossman had issued a statement on behalf of Stern that said the union had received no allegations about Freeman's local. The source, who said he was party to internal conversations about Freeman in 2002, told The Times last week: "The international knew that there were allegations of impropriety many years ago. This is not news to them." Nelson Lichtenstein, director of UC Santa Barbara's Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, goes on to provide another motive for supporting and covering up for Freeman: “…the union clearly had an "investment" in Freeman, a Stern protege who has been a highprofile loyalist in the SEIU push to consolidate regional locals into statewide chapters. That effort is being resisted by a handful of dissidents, notably the president of a 150,000-worker Oakland affiliate. Stern wants to move 65,000 workers from that local to Freeman's, a proposal that has triggered a nasty internecine fight. 4) QUESTIONS: Did Trossman ever get the interview under oath, which he so richly earned? Not to mention that this would be essential to establish the scope of the IU’s involvement and their credibility —especially considering the hapless nature of Trossman’s responses to the reporter and facts which contradict his statements. Which of the SEIU Execs, and those in the chain of command, were interviewed under oath? o Andy Stern, Anna Burger, Eliseo Medina, Tom Woodruff, Mary Kay Henry, Dave Regan, Mike Fishman, Sheila Velasco, Dave Kieffer, Jon Barton….? Was the Times’ source ever given an opportunity to explain their story and be evaluated for their credibility—with or without a guarantee of continued anonymity? Was Jim Philliou’s subsequent testimony ever used to challenge the clearly dishonest statements made by the IU at the time the Times broke the story publicly? B) Deposition of Jim Philliou 11/11/09 (US DISTRICT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SEIU vs SAL ROSELLI, No. C 09- 00404WHA7) 1) From 1997 to 2004, Jim Philliou was the Organizing Director for SEIU’s Western Region, and reported to International Executive VPs Eliseo Medina and Tom Woodruff. -3-
2) Philliou was assigned by the IU to co-sign each and every check issued by Freeman. He testified that he refused to continue this duty in 2001 due to his concerns about the large amounts being issued to questionable recipients, such as the “child care center,” which turned out to be one of Freeman’s scams. This one skimmed union funds and directing them towards his mother in law and trusted aide Rickman Jackson—who is still drawing a 6 figure paycheck from SEIU. 3) Philliou testified that he informed Sheila Velasco, Eliseo Medina’s Chief of Staff, of his concerns, as well as Dave Kieffer, SEIU’s Nursing Home Director. 4) Philliou was relieved of this oversight duty—which was then assigned…TO NO ONE! Philliou testified that while he had no first-hand knowledge of a promised audit, Kieffer told him later that “…there had been some type of audit and the expenditures were, quote, ‘questionable but legal,’ unquote. 5) What kind of audit would not even contact the person with familiarity of the local and its finances, who went so far as to refuse to co-sign checks he considered dubious which supposedly generated the alleged audit? 6) Has anyone seen this audit to ascertain if it had been in fact conducted, and if so, how it managed to miss glaring evidence of unethical and/or illegal activity? 7) Freeman was widely recognized by those in the IU (and in the locals) who communicate constantly as a less than honorable figure. Freeman’s Local was the largest in California, was very high profile for the Union, Andy Stern, his Executives, and his hand-picked “loyalist” appointee Freeman. Would anyone care to argue that incendiary reports of this nature, reaching the highest echelons of SEIU with all that was at stake, never made it to an agenda topic at Exec Board meetings? Was never discussed by IU staff and officers at their regular meetings and conferences, not to mention their personal interactions? 8) As quoted in the New York Times on 9/2/08: “…Jono Shaffer, a leader of the union’s Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles, wondered why it had taken so long to uncover the problems in that city’s giant home-care local. “I wish I could say this is unbelievable, but for those of us in Southern California, the only surprise is that it took so long to make it to the public,” Mr. Shaffer wrote. THE BOTTOM LINE: There need be no speculation about the veracity of the IU Trossman claimed in 2008, on Stern’s behalf, that “the International Union has not received allegations concerning [Freeman's local].” Philliou testified that he refused to co-sign Freeman’s dubious checks—and reported this in 2001 to Eliseo Medina’s chief of Staff and the head of the Nursing Home Division, which allegedly generated an audit. How does this not count as the IU “receiving allegations concerning [Freeman's local]?” It is now a rhetorical question as to which is far more likely to be true. Even without the “source” and the dramatically evident self- interest of the IU to duck and cover—it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to determine the truth. The only question is who has/will be interviewed under oath and the penalty of perjury—and how far up the ladder the investigating parties (DOJ/DOL) are willing to go to hold accountable all who violated laws & standards applicable to the individuals in question. -4-
C) Freeman’s Objections to Sentencing Report 07/22/13 (US DISTRICT COURT, CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA US vs. TYRONE R. FREEMAN Case 2:12-cr-00734-ABC Document 185-1 Filed 07/22/13 Page 1 of 2 Page ID #:4523) 1) Freeman is haplessly arguing that his time spent at the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills, where the $9/hr homecare workers paid his $9K initiation fee, $800/mo for his personal humidor, and countless “meetings” where $175 glasses of cognac and other working class fare was served, was work related and therefore not subject to any negative sentencing recommendation. 2) More importantly, it is revealed that staff members participated, from what appears in the emails he used as evidence, in a regular Friday from 4 to 7 pm meeting at this den of iniquity, courtesy of the members’ dues dollars. 3) The email lists officials and staff who apparently participated in this grotesque violation of the same ethical and legal standards Freeman so casually disregarded. They certainly deserve their day in court. They are listed in the aforementioned case, and include Matthew Maldonado, Freeman's top aide; Will Hirst, a close aide to Freeman; Tom Csekey, the current Membership Director of Local 6434; Wendy Duchen, the current Director of Regions 1 and 4 for Local 6434; Benigno Delgado; Yvonne Olivares; Louis Jamerson; and others. WHY I AM FOCUSED ON THIS CASE 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. -5-
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