Officers for the APOA have a few perks - one of them is a "company" credit card. The card is conferred upon the elected officer to pay for union related expenses. We assume that those cards are not issued to be used for personal gain or for some sort of compensation.
Our Eyes sent us the Bank of America credit card statements for three of the APOA's officers from mid January through early may of 2007. It's interesting reading to say the least. In fact, from the expenditures on the statements it looks as if there were at least a few shall we say... questionable purchases.
Let's take a look at APOA President Ron Olivas. In the four month period covered by the statements he spent $9,712.92 averaging $2,428.23 a month, that's over $29,000 a year.
There are a couple of things that jump out at you when reviewing the statements. The first is that President Olivas loves his coffee. With 27 trips to various coffee houses it's apparent that coffee is an important part of his day. His favorite coffee house appears to be the Tazza Coffee Bar.
In addition to coffee, Olivas seems to be spending an awful lot of union money on food and beverages with over $3,000 spent at places like Capos, The Flying Star, Bravo, DG's Deli, Conrad's, The Standard Diner, the Carom Club, and even McDonald's.
In addition to the curious use of union credit cards for food, beverage, and coffee, President Olivas bought 7 airline tickets to Las Vegas for $246.80 each and apparently 5 rooms at the Flamingo Hilton for $147.15. Curiously, there were seven airline tickets and only 5 rooms... We'll let you draw your own conclusions here.
After reviewing the credit card statements it looks an awful lot like Mr. Olivas is using his union credit card to support his everyday life. Things like trips to Wal-Mart, food, and coffee are almost daily occurences. We understand that part of the job description of union officers is to schmooze elected officials. However, we have a hard time believing that schmoozing includes multiple trips to the Tazza Coffee Bar or $497.23 outings to Conrad's.
APOA members have a right not only to know what their elected officers are spending their dues on, but to make sure that these expenditures are in fact union related. From the looks of the four months of credit card statements that we've gotten a look at, it appears that Mr. Olivas, Christopher George, and Benjamin Baker have been spending union money on non-union goods and services.
We believe that in light of these somewhat questionable expenditures, it might be wise for the APOA membership to dig deeper into the use of union funds by APOA office holders. If they can't be trusted to steward union dues, why should they be trusted to negotiate member contracts? After all, they're your union dues and the membership should determine whether they are used to work or for the board members to play.
Yesterday we didn't post the documents that we reviewed for this post. There's something about posting credit card records that makes us uncomfortable - even when those records are not our own. After further review, we've come to the conclusion that there's no information in the statements that would allow some unscrupulous soul to use the information for their own gain. So... we'll let you decide whether or not the elected representatives of the APOA have already used these credit cards to fill more than just their coffee cups (review the documents here).
Remember, an elected union board can be just as corrupt as any elected government official. In fact, some union officials have even been connected to organized crime. It really doesn't matter whether or not they're wearing the union label. Anyone that has access to your money needs to be monitored and monitored closely lest they take the opportunity to make their cup runneth over.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes