$42 Million Union Embezzlement case, Little Media Coverage

by Warner Todd Huston | January 19, 2010 1:29 pm

Union operative Melissa King of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) has been arrested for stealing $42 million in union funds to support the lavish lifestyle to which she and her daughter have become accustomed. It is being called the biggest union theft in history. So why haven’t we heard of this union theft? Why hasn’t it been all over the news?

That would be a good question and Brian Johnson, for one, asked the question[1] himself. Johnson makes an interesting point when he notes that the Old Media have lost its collective mind over the Bernie Madoff scandal, yet they’ve made barely a peep about this monumental theft by a union member.

Famously nicknamed the “sandhogs,” the LIUNA is a union that represents the workers that dig the tunnels that are networked throughout New York City. It is they that are responsible for sewer tunnels, the subway, and other such excavation work.

Melissa King had the opportunity to steal all that money because she administered the union’s benefit investments. As Carl Horowitz notes[2]:

King, 58, a resident of Irvington, N.Y., through her home-based company, King Care LLC, handled all administrative functions for Sandhog benefit funds since 1980, and at an annual official compensation that eventually reached $540,000. That’s pretty lavish even for an international union president. Apparently, it wasn’t lavish enough. Starting in 2002, prosecutors charge, King illegally transferred about $42 million from three union accounts covering pensions, vacation pay and other benefits to accounts she personally controlled. A large portion of it, to put it lightly, was unrelated to union business. Of the alleged thefts, $7.2 million went to pay off American Express bills, more than $3 million to equestrian businesses (apparently she was grooming her daughter for an equestrian career), and $713,500 to a jewelry business. The criminal complaint states she also transferred $500,000 to an E*Trade Securities account without union authorization.

This seems like the sort of outrageous story that one might imagine would be all over the news. But have you heard of this story?

Nope, me neither.

I’d also like to ask a question about the non-existent reaction from the king of transparency, President Barack Obama. Now, I thought Obama was all about being the economic scold about abuse of large amounts of money? After all, he’s all about beating up bank executives for making what he thinks are undeserved bonuses, right? So, why isn’t all up in arms, why doesn’t he unleash his righteous indignation at this abuse of the public trust perpetrated by a union criminal?

Where is President Scold now?

I guess Obama’s too busy giving away $58 billion in the tax payer’s money[3] to his union pals, huh?

As the Washington Times notes, if everyone got mad that a couple of Senators might have gotten $400 million in political bribes to vote for Obamacare, what will happen when people find out the President gave away $58 billion of the tax payer’s money to the unions?

And where is the Old Media to broadcast that sweetheart deal?

Questions, we have questions.

(Cross posted TheUnionLabelBlog.com)

  1. asked the question: http://bigjournalism.com/brjohnson/2010/01/17/most-of-msm-yawns-rolls-over-as-largest-union-theft-in-history-goes-largely-unreported/
  2. Carl Horowitz notes: http://www.nlpc.org/stories/2009/12/18/benefits-administrator-nyc-sandhogs-laborers-local-charged-42-million-ripoff
  3. Obama’s too busy giving away $58 billion in the tax payer’s money: http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/18/obamas-59-billion-giveaway-to-unions/

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