Monday, October 27, 2014

Former General Manager of California Labor Union Accused of Embezzling $700K

From the Daily Press on 10/24/2014:

Labor union accuses former GM of embezzlement

The former general manager of San Bernardino County’s largest labor union misappropriated, converted or embezzled more than $700,000 in funds from executives and members, according to a recently-filed lawsuit.

Representing over 11,000 San Bernardino County workers, the San Bernardino Public Employees Association is suing its former head, Robert Blough, alleging that he stole $595,444.82 in cash and misspent another $108,345.12 between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013.

The union last week filed a civil suit against Blough in county Superior Court, seeking to recoup the allegedly stolen money along with additional unspecified compensation.Blough could not be reached for comment.

After the union hired a new auditing firm last year, the auditors “discovered that there was a large disparity in the amount of SBPEA’s recorded cash receipts and the amount of deposits made to SBPEA’s bank account at Security Bank of California,” the lawsuit states.

Blough had access to the union’s safe and was responsible for holding cash and depositing cash at the bank, according to the lawsuit.

The audit also found that union credit cards, including those held in Blough’s name, had numerous charges that “appeared to be personal in nature,” the lawsuit said.

The suit’s filing last Friday came two days after the union announced it had requested the District Attorney’s office investigate the missing funds.

Blough, who became the union’s general manager on Dec. 26, 2005, was placed on administrative leave without pay on June 21, 2013. He was fired Aug. 13, 2013, along with his assistant, Jeannie Marquez.

Marquez is not named as a defendant in the suit.

The union is also alleging that “Blough falsified and altered records to conceal his misappropriation, conversion, and embezzlement of funds from SBPEA’s Executive Committee and members,” the lawsuit states.

Update 11/27/2014Bough denies allegations:

The former general manager of the San Bernardino County Public Employees Association, responding to a lawsuit filed against him by the union, denies allegations he misappropriated or embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Bob Blough, in his 10-page response filed Nov. 20 in San Bernardino Superior Court, alleges that the union had “unclean hands” and was essentially complicit in the alleged wrongdoing, rendering the lawsuit meritless. He said the union was equally responsible and failed to take any action to “mitigate and lessen damages.”

The union’s actions, Blough alleges, constitute a full release and waiver by the union of “any and all its claims” against him. He is seeking $520,000 in general damages, compensation for the cost of litigation, and punitive damages.

Blough, of Calimesa, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.


Read the whole story here.

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