By Steve Gunn
SALISBURY, Maryland – We already knew that the former treasurer of a local teachers union in Maryland was arrested and convicted for embezzling more than $433,000 in union funds to support her gambling habit.
And we knew that the state union, the Maryland State Teachers Association, discovered the theft in 2009, made quiet arrangements for the treasurer to repay the money, and decided against calling the police.
The police finally learned about the embezzlement and former union treasurer Denise Owens was convicted and sentenced last month.
But in the meantime state union officials had the gall to put in a claim to its insurance company to recover some of the lost funds, even though they failed to alert authorities or their members about the crime, according to the Washington Examiner.
On the insurance claim form, union officials wrote suffered a $236,545 loss due to “local elected treasurer dishonesty.” In the section asking them to explain how the police were alerted to the crime, union officials wrote “not reported because of potential impact on membership and loss of members.”
How refreshingly honest, and how completely sickening.
As handlers of their members’ dues money, union officials had a moral responsibility to alert the police about the theft of dues money, and a responsibility to tell their members what happened.
But instead they chose to take the selfish route, keeping members in the dark so they wouldn’t resign and stop paying dues altogether.
After all of this, it’s tough to imagine Maryland teachers being comfortable about paying monthly dues. They have no idea where the money is going, and experience tells them they can’t trust their leaders to honestly account for it.
“I think the cover up of that theft, and the lies to the teachers, is far worse morally than Denise Owens having a severe gambling problem,” Steve Rakow, a prosecutor in the case, told the newspaper.