Maryland Teachers Ripped Off By Dues and Theft
Maryland State Education Association officials force unwilling teachers to pay dues, then keep the theft of almost half a million dollars quiet, in order to keep their members in the dark. MSEA officials were concerned about a potential loss of membership. Now teacher union members know where their dues aren’t safe from mistrust and theft. It is clear teacher union officials had a direct hand in covering up so the guilty party returned to the classroom. Mike Antonucci has the story in Intercepts.
The theft of more than $433,000 by a former local treasurer was covered up by the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) because the union feared the “potential impact on membership and loss of members,” according to an insurance claim document obtained by the Salisbury Daily Times.
Denise Inez Owens was the treasurer of the Worcester County Teachers Association (WCTA) when she stole state and national dues money to feed her gambling addiction. MSEA discovered the embezzlement in March 2009, but failed to report it to authorities. Instead the union persuaded Owens to sign a confession and agree to a restitution plan. Owens then resigned her union position and returned to work as a middle school teacher without notifying the school district of her predicament.
MSEA ordered a forensic audit of the local union’s finances, then filed an insurance claim that stated the offense was “Not reported because of potential impact on membership and loss of members.”
The cover-up was not discovered until the Daily Times found evidence in WCTA’s IRS filings in February 2012. The union had failed to submit required paperwork because of the mess Owens had left behind. It asked the IRS for leniency because “a substantial amount of money was embezzled.” The newspaper turned over its findings to law enforcement authorities, who subsequently filed charges against Owens. She pleaded guilty to a single count of theft and was sentenced to two years in prison.