It's all in the name of "fighting poverty" or so said Tyrone Freeman, the boss of the Service International Employees Union in Los Angeles. That's all fine and dandy, except the problem is he's fighting poverty by spending $300,000 tab on golf tournament, cigar club, and steakhouses!
Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times broke the story with this investigation:
The Los Angeles-based union, which represents low-wage caregivers, also spent nearly $300,000 last year on a Four Seasons Resorts golf tournament, a Beverly Hills cigar club, restaurants such as Morton's steakhouse and a consulting contract with the William Morris Agency,
the Hollywood talent shop, records show. [...]
Based on documents filed with the Labor Department and Internal Revenue Service, the Guidestar nonprofit database, business records submitted to several state and local agencies and numerous interviews, a Times investigation has also found that:
* Payments to the company owned by Freeman's wife were among the local's largest single expenses last year. Payments by the charity, the Homecare Workers Training Center, to his mother-in-law's firm represented more than 10% of the nonprofit's total annual expenditures. [...]
* The local's nearly $10,000 tab at the Grand Havana Room, a cigar lounge known for its celebrity clientele and invitation-only memberships, was for "lodging," according to the union's annual financial report. A Grand Havana spokeswoman said the club does not provide accommodations. Freeman declined to characterize the expenditure, and after The Times inquired about it, he said he had refunded it.
(Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / LA Times)