Los Angeles Times SEIU Investigation

In 2008, Paul Pringle, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, reviewed the financial reports of a large California local labor union, the United Long Term-Care Workers Union (an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union). His research detailed how the union’s president, Tyrone Freeman, had used the union’s funds as his personal piggy bank.

Pringle’s review of the Form LM-2s filed by the union with the DOL showed that the “union local and a related charity have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by the wife and mother-in-law of the labor organization's president.”[15] Within a few weeks, Freeman was removed as head of the union and the local was placed in trusteeship.[16] Subsequently, the DOL began its own investigation into the union’s spending, and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor launched an inquiry.[17]

In addition to the spending problems that were discovered through the union’s Form LM-2, Freeman was later “accused of billing the union for $8,100 in hotel, restaurant, bar, rental car and massage charges incurred during his wedding” in Hawaii.[18] Freeman was also alleged to have failed to provide documentation to support the legitimacy of a second trip to Hawaii.[19] After the SEIU conducted its own investigation, it banned Freeman for life and sought repayment from him of more than $1 million to cover his misappropriations.[20]  

In July 2012, Freeman was indicted on a variety of charges related to these activities, including seven counts of embezzling union funds, four counts of mail fraud, three counts of filing false tax returns and one count of making false statements to a federally insured institution.[21] A jury convicted him on fourteen counts in January of 2013.[22] He was sentenced to 33 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution.[23]