Illinois Boss Settles Embezzlement Suit for $275,000

Ex-Aurora, Ill., firefighter and union boss Patrick Stiles agreed Apr. 26 to pay $275,000 to two union groups, Aurora Firefighters Local 99 and the Aurora Firefighters Relief Ass’n, that accused him of embezzlement. Though Stiles did not admit any wrongdoing, an order entered by Kane County Circuit Court Judge Michael Colwell stated Stiles “misappropriated and used for his own purposes” more than $300,000 from Local 99 and $65,000 from the Relief Ass’n. He was secretary-treasurer of the Relief Ass’n from 1995-99 and of Local 99 from 1992 until Jan. 2001.

The order did not state that Stiles denies wrongdoing, but the only aspect of the order to which Stiles reportedly agreed was the $275,000 payment. Colwell denied a motion by Fred Morelli, Jr., Stiles’ attorney, to have a prior default judgment set aside so he could contest the suit’s allegations. Morelli also failed in his demands that the two groups urge law enforcement not to pursue criminal charges and to state specifically that Stiles denies wrongdoing. The two groups filed the civil suit against Stiles in Feb. 2001, about a week after filing police reports that led to an ongoing criminal probe.

Colwell’s order satisfied the objectives of that suit, Local 99 President Gregory Frieders said. “We came to court to get our money back, and that’s what this hopefully will do. He used our money for his personal agenda, and we want it back.”

Under the order, Stiles’ retirement funds held by the Aurora Firefighters Pension Fund Bd. will be paid to Local 99 and the Relief Ass’n. Wade Joyner, attorney for the Relief Ass’n, said those funds now total about $64,000. In earlier court proceedings, a lien was placed on Stiles’ home and other assets were frozen. The two groups do not believe Stiles’ assets will cover the full amount. Additional hearings will be held to determine if the assets held by Stiles’ wife, Tracey, can be used to satisfy the judgment. Stiles also is required by the order to produce federal income-tax returns and other financial documents each year until he pays off the full $275,000. [Chi. Trib. 4/27/01]

Ohio Boss Accused of $4,800 Theft
Stanley M. Bennett was charged Apr. 24 with embezzling $4,833 from Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 473 and Dayton (Ohio) Mailers Union Local 1137. He was secretary-treasurer of the Mailers Local before it merged with the IBT Local. He was a union steward after the merger. From May 1997 to Mar. 1998, he allegedly stole $2,588 in members’ cash dues. He concealed the theft “by making false entries of receipts in the dues log or failing to record the amount received,” according to U.S. Dist. Court records. Reportedly, Bennett also wrote union checks totaling $2,245 “for the personal benefit of himself and not that of the union.” [Dayton Daily News 4/25/01]