Monday, September 1, 2008
The Los Angeles Times reports the top California officer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has taken a leave of absence in wake of the union ordering her boyfriend and former union official to repay tens of thousands of dollars. The officer, Annelle Grajeda, is president of both the Los Angeles local and the California state council and executive vice president of the national organization. Her boyfriend, Alejandro Stephens, was the longtime president of the Los Angeles chapter before it merged into several other union entities. The accusations relate both to claims that Stephens violated a severance agreement when he received money from the local and remained on the county payroll as an employee and that Stephens improperly managed a union-affiliated charity established to help members who are victims of disasters.
These accusations are separate from previous allegations, also reported by the L.A. Times, involving Tyrone Freeman, the President of the SEIU United Long-Term Care Workers local in L.A. who has recently taken a leave of absence. Those allegations assert various questionable payments by the union and by a charity he founded, including hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to businesses owned by his wife and mother-in-law. The same local is apparently also under investigation by the U.S. Labor Department for possible voting irregulatories relating to the election of Freeman and his slate of officers.