Feds Accuse Former AFT Treasurer of Bilking Union Dues

A former treasurer for the American Federation of Teachers Local 2240 pleaded not guilty on Thursday of pilfering union dues from instructors, librarians and counselors who work for the Catholic Diocese of San Francisco and San Jose.

According to an eight-count federal indictment, Kenneth Morris, a 50-year-old Alameda resident and former math teacher at Archbishop Riordan High in San Francisco, deposited checks meant for Local 2240 into his own bank account under false pretenses.

The charging document describes five deposits, each in the range of $1,000 to $5,000, that Morris allegedly made between Sept. 10 and Dec. 10 last year.

Federal prosecutors also say Morris stole union property three additional times from Nov. 13, 2017, to Jan. 12, 2018. According to the indictment, the value of the additional property stolen comes to $18,720 and some change. That brings the total amount allegedly stolen to $31,611.

The ex-treasurer faces five counts of bank fraud and three counts of stealing union assets. If convicted, he faces decades behind bars.

Morris made his initial court appearance Thursday before US Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte in SF, who released him on bond. His next court date is set for Sept. 18.

7 Comments

  1. > Feds Accuse Former AFT Treasurer of Bilking Union Dues

    So, who filed the complaint or notified the authorities?

    The A.F.T.? The Catholic Diocese?

    I’m curious to know who, in this day and age, has enough clout with law enforcement to get them to take a complaint seriously.

  2. The captains of industry are able to steal from the workers like this all the time, and face no magistrate, no jail time. Just look at any company that has/had a pension plan for their workers, you’ll see this is no isolated incident, though the outcomes are quite different.

    • SCCrazy ,
      Union leaders and pension funds never disappear , obviously you never worked for the UAW, Teamster or the Long Shore Man. Just ask Jimmy Hoffa, Lucky Luciano, and Meyer Lansky how to grow a pension fund.

  3. In the previous millennium, some time after the Civil War, I was elected as California (statewide) Secretary-Treasurer (S.T.) of a [deliberately un-named] international labor union.

    My eyes were opened. I lost some of my virginity, not to mention a lot of my naive and credulous assumption that most everyone else was honest, too. That was no doubt projection on my part.

    For one thing, I found out how many people, who looked and talked just like me, had sticky fingers.

    I wouldn’t say a majority of my fellow union members would snatch a $100 bill if no one was looking. But the large fraction who would astonished me. I would guess that as many as 40% of my fellow union ‘brothers and sisters’ were closet miscreants. Or at the least, opportunists.

    In one typical case, the President and S.T. of a Local that had all of twenty members in it, had written checks totaling many thousands of dollars for “Incidentals,” “Stationary supplies,” “Stamps,” &etc. The money amounted to close to a thousand dollars a month. A Local that size wouldn’t use $100 a year for supplies like that.

    This had gone on for years, until one of the members actually looked at the books (which was more than most union members ever did. Even the Audit Committee members that each Local was required to elect every year would simply sign the audit report — and if they had a rubber stamp with their signatures, they probably would have used those).

    Not being one to approve of anyone who waqs ripping off their fellow union “brothers and sisters,” I was rarin’ to go get ’em. Make an example out of what I thought were no more or less than self-serving thieves, converting dues money into their personal accounts. But then, I’d just been elected and I was brand bnew at the job. I didn’t understand how unions worked.

    I was put in my place by higher-ups; told in no uncertain terms that the President of the District was taking over the investigation — and to my endless regret, I caved; I let them take over, even though it was my bailiwick. The result: kissy-face smiles all around. The crooks promised to be good (but they weren’t required to repay anything, and they kept their positions).

    But if I had the experience then that I have now, I would have done what someone did here, and notified the Labor Department. The feds would have taken it over like they did here, and the union couldn’t have swept it under the carpet. And I have little doubt the same thing would have happened here, if it had been handled with the union. But now the chips will fall. Good.

    One of the best things the feds ever did for dues paying rank-and-file union members happened in the ’50’s, when they corrected some of the more egregious abuses. One thing the feds required was that every check written on union funds had to have the signatures of two officers: the President and the S.T. (the financial officer).

    Before that requirement, many a union President was in the habit of writing a check whenever the urge hit him. But as I found out, two can still swindle the members. But with dual signature checks it’s just not nearly as likely, or as easy.

    I also found that the crooks usually weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, and this AFT guy seems to be no exception. Apparently he took checks written for dues payments — and deposited them into his personal bank account. Didn’t he realize the check writer would be able to tell where the check was deposited?!

    There just has to be more to this story. *Sheesh!* How could anyone be that stoooopid?

    .

    And regarding this: “I’m curious to know who, in this day and age, has enough clout with law enforcement to get them to take a complaint seriously.”

    Good question — if our local law ‘enforcement’ gang was notified. But in the case of union malfeasance, it’s automatically a federal matter, so the locals get leapfrogged — and that’s why there was prompt action on this theft… ‘scuse me, on this “alleged” theft.

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