The former head of the SEIU Local 660, which represented more than 50,000 LA county workers until it folded into Local 721, was terribly creative in his attempt to make a little cash on the side…and take advantage of the members of the union he headed. A shout out to the National Legal and Policy Center and Carl Horowitz for the following tale of corruption:
On August 27, Alejandro Stephens, formerly president of SEIU’s now-defunct Local 660, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with two counts of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Stephens allegedly used his position as an official with the Los Angeles union to conspire with at least three other individuals to receive tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from phony “consulting” companies. Given that he’s already in hot water in a separate case that surfaced last year, it makes sense that he reportedly has declared his intention to plead guilty. Union Corruption Update last September noted that a Los Angeles Times article implicated Stephens as a beneficiary of an illegal scheme hatched by a former girlfriend, SEIU Local 721 President Annelle Grajeda.
Among other sketchy activities documented in the LA Times, Horowitz continues:
The feds are charging that Stephens used his position as Local 660 president to enrich himself through a union-sponsored political action committee and a nonprofit group called Voter Improvement Program (VIP). Stephens and several associates allegedly set up bogus consulting firms in order to secure contracts from VIP for work never done. His partners then kicked back most of the money to him. All told, say the feds, he collected about $52,000 in nonexistent work during the period February 2004-April 2005. Moreover, he knowingly underreported $35,000 of this sum on his 2004 federal income tax return.