Union says its former president stole $800,000 in dues money

Apr 24, 2013 by

AUBURN, N.Y. – Apparently, “union solidarity” was only a slogan to the former president of the Aubrun Teachers Association.

According to Syracuse.com, Sally Jo Widmer served more than 35 years as the head the ATA – the local teacher’s union – until her death last November.

But it wasn’t until this year that Widmer’s fellow ATA leaders discovered she has misappropriated at least $800,000 in union dues money between 2006 and 2012, though the full amount may never be known, reports Syracuse.com.

Widmer reportedly used the money to gamble, pay for trips, and buy everyday items, such as groceries, clothes and gas.

Current ATA President Cheryl Miskell said the union was “victimized” by Widmer’s “massive fraud.”

Things shouldn’t be too gloomy at ATA headquarters, however. The union is expected to recoup its losses through its fidelity bond, “which is an insurance policy that protects organizations against losses due to fraud,” Syracuse.com reports.

Union leaders have also reportedly added more checks and balances into their system to prevent future attempts of embezzlement.

Things aren’t quite so cheerful for Auburn teachers who may view the news of Widmer’s misdeeds as a good reason to quit their union and keep their dues money for their own expenses.

New York requires all public school teachers to belong to their local union as a condition of employment. That means New York educators will remain lowly dues payers who must simply trust that their union leaders are looking out for their interests – at least some of the time.

via Union says its former president stole $800,000 in dues money – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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