Boss Embezzled $50,000 from International Union

Fred G. Summers, ex-boss of the Int’l Ass’n of Bridge, Struc. & Ornamental Iron Workers, pled guilty Mar. 15 in U.S. Dist. Court in Wash., D.C., to embezzling over $50,000 of union funds. The ex-organizing director admitted using BSOIW’s credit card for personal expenses, including travel and meal costs for his wedding and honeymoon. He also admitted covering expenses for BSOIW president Jake West and their friends and relatives. He pled guilty to 19 charges of embezzlement and making false entries in union books.

The U.S. Atty.’s Office said union money was illegally spent from 1994-99 at restaurants in D.C. and on trips to Fla., Ind., Cal. and elsewhere. For example, in Jan. 1997, Summers spent $2,300 on a golf outing in Palm Springs. Prosecutors said West permitted Summers to pay the tab so West could provide “entertainment of his family and personal friends with less likelihood of detection.” One dinner reportedly cost $933.

The crimes were detected in a long-running probe of union and police corruption. Summers agreed to help prosecutors. They’re trying to determine whether West used union money to bestow favors on ex-D.C. police chief Larry D. Soulsby, and if so, whether he got anything in return.

Summers will to pay $50,000 in restitution. He kept his job after his arrest in Oct. 1999, but recently resigned and plans to start work in the construction business in Ind. while he awaits sentencing.  [Wash. Post 3/16/00]