West Virginia Boss, Wife Accused of $15,600 Theft

A federal grand jury indicted Thomas C. “Tom” Bailey, president of Am. Fed’n of Musicians Local 136 in Charleston, W. Va., and his wife for embezzling some $15,601 from union coffers. Bailey’s wife, Deborah S., was office manager for the local. Their theft of dues and other revenues allegedly occurred between Jan. 1997 and June 5, 2001. The union president is also accused of filing a false annual financial report with the Dep’t of Labor in Jan. 2001. Bailey was elected president of Local 136 in 1985, after previously serving as vice president. He was reelected in Jan. 2001.

Bailey, a saxophone player, was a longtime organizer of a local event called the “Charleston Sternwheel Regatta.” Last year, Bailey alleged that the now-defunct Charleston Festival Comm’n owed Local 136 nearly $10,000 for the 1997-99 Regattas. However, unlike other vendors owed by the Comm’n, Bailey could not produce receipts for the debt when asked to by city officials. The Comm’n collapsed under mounting debts, and was replaced by the Charleston Regatta Comm’n. Bailey served on the boards of both organizations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary E. Stanley rule Dec. 13 that taxpayers will provide the defense lawyers for Baileys. At the arraignment, Stanley suggested, however, prosecutors may wish to seize the assets of the Baileys if they are convicted, and said, “The court has approved appointed counsel to preserve their assets.” Stanley set Feb. 13 trial dates for the Baileys, who are represented by different lawyers in the case. She then released the couple on bail. Normally, criminal defendants must avoid potential witnesses and alleged victims. But Stanley allowed Tom Bailey to resume his duties at Local 136 under one condition. “The only person you should be discussing this case with is your attorney,” she said.[Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette 12/6, 12/14/01]