Due to the disclosure requirements that apply to Michigan’s private sector unions, those who would steal from union members have been forced to either use cash transactions or to falsify reports in an attempt to avoid detection. Thanks in part to federal financial reporting requirements, their misdeeds often catch up with them.
For example, James Killingsworth, president of Communications Workers of America Local 84555 in Webberville, together with Billie Jo Killingsworth, the union treasurer, embezzled $19,197 by making unauthorized cash withdrawals from ATMs. Their acts were discovered, and, upon pleading guilty, each was sentenced to six months in prison.
Similarly, on Jan. 16, 2015, Ann Marie Shaffer of Livonia was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for embezzling union assets. Along with her sentence of 12 months plus one day, she was also ordered to pay restitution of $340,267.
These examples illustrate how disclosure requirements in the private sector help uncover corruption and excessive spending, enabling union members to take action to rid themselves of officers who are not acting in their best interests.