WASHINGTON, D.C. – If there’s anyone who ever embezzled union funds with gusto, it was former Washington Teachers Union President Barbara Bullock.
Bullock went wild with her union-provided American Express card. And based on her expensive tastes, she never left home without it.
She bought a $50,000 silver set from a New Orleans antique shop. She dropped $40,000 on a custom-made fur coat. She paid $5,000 for a sterling silver champagne cooler. Her co-conspirator used $29,000 in union funds for her and her husband’s dental implants, according to the Washington Post.
Middle American News reported Bullock also paid for a “fleet of Cadillacs,” art works, jewelry, Carribbean vacations, personal entertainment in nightclubs and restaurants, home furnishings and gifts for friends.
Bullock was living large with her members’ money.
All told, she spent a whopping $5 million of compulsory union dues on herself and her co-conspirators. That equals out to $1,000 per union member. We hope she sent them all thank you cards.
Bullock pleaded guilty in 2003. In testifying against her co-conspirators, former office manager Gwendolyn Hemphill and former treasurer James O. Baxter II, she was asked by the Assistant U.S. attorney if she likes to shop.
“No, that’s not fair,” Bullock said. “I love to shop,” the Post reported.
“I like jewelry. I like china. I like crystal. I like shoes – you name it,” she told the jury.
Despite a 9-year sentence, Bullock was released in 2009 after serving 5 years, according to WUSA9.
By the time the scandal was uncovered, some of the main players had moved on. Hemphill was working for the District of Columbia Democratic Party. She was co-chairman of Mayor Anthony Williams’ reelection campaign in 2002.
In 2006, she was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Co-conspirator Baxter was convicted of 23 counts that included “embezzlement, money laundering, conspiracy and wire fraud,” according to the Washington Times.
The American Federation of Teachers requires its member unions to have their books audited every two years. The WTU hadn’t done that for nearly a decade.
When union funds were depleted and they didn’t have enough money to pay their members’ way to the AFT convention, Bullock simply raised dues one month – by 1,000 percent.
“It seems everyone in a responsible position fell asleep at the switch. The only ones who were vigilant were the thieves, who took everything that wasn’t nailed down,” U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said, according to Michelle Malkin writing at WND.com.
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