News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 29, 2014

Union local under national scrutiny

Hearing scheduled for June 4 in Terre Haute

TERRE HAUTE — A local union has been placed under “emergency trusteeship” by its international union, amid an investigation into possible missing funds, according to a letter posted this week on the door of the union.

The union affected is the Laborers Local Union 204, located at 401 Poplar St. It is part of the Laborers International Union of North America.

The letter, with LIUNA letterhead and dated May 23, indicated that Local 204 was placed “under the emergency trusteeship of the International Union, effective May 27, 2014” and that the emergency situation warranted immediate intervention.

Concerns outlined in the correspondence included missing funds, a questionable loan and the shredding of documents.

The letter stated:

• “An investigation has revealed that since 2008, in excess of $12,000 in initiation fees and dues had gone missing, and that, upon discovery of the loss, the funds were paid back by the local union’s business manager, who was a field representative.

• “In addition, in order to pay back the missing funds, the business manager received more than $2,000 as an advance on his wages.” Federal law prohibits local unions from making loans higher than $2,000 to union officials.

• “It was also determined that numerous receipt books were missing and union documents were shredded in an attempt to conceal wrongdoing.”

A representative of the International Union for the Midwest region, Bob Schroeder, was at the Laborers office Thursday. He said the international office would have no further comment until after a June 4 hearing in Terre Haute. No one from the local union will comment, either, until after that hearing, a member told the Tribune-Star.

Based on the recommendation of John Penn, vice president and Midwest regional manager, the local was placed under the emergency trusteeship.

The letter also served as notice of the June 4 hearing at the Holiday Inn (U.S. 41 South) by a special hearings panel of the general executive board “to determine whether the trusteeship shall continue.”

The letter states that any union member or former officer can be represented in person at the hearing, at their own expense. If no personal appearance is made, any documents or briefs can be submitted to the special hearings panel, c/o the LIUNA legal department, in Washington, D.C.

The Tribune-Star also reached out to LIUNA in Washington, D.C., and was referred to the Indiana District Council.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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