La. Local Accuses Boss of Credit Card Misuse

United Steelworkers of Am. Local 8363 in Chlamette, La., found May 22 that its ex-president, Earl Dauterive III, misused the local’s credit card on some 61 occasions. Dauterive now serves as a public official: chairman of the St. Bernard Parish Planning Comm’n. Local 8363 also alleges 18 instances of “double-dipping” on money in which Dauterive was improperly paid salary by both his employer, Murphy Oil, and the union for union activities. The Dept. of Labor has obtained records from the local and is reportedly investigating the case, Thibodeaux said. No criminal charges have been filed yet.

Dauterive, who resigned his union presidency prior to a union trial committee finding, has repaid $1,913 of the money the union claims he owed, according to Joe Thibodeaux, local vice president and chairman of the union trial committee. He said the union is accepting the money only as a partial payment. Allegedly, Dauterive owed about $4,700 in restitution.

Dauterive chose not to challenge the trial committee on the allegations reportedly on the advice of his attorney but has the right to appeal. Thibodeaux and president Keith Robin refused to elaborate on how Dauterive misused credit cards. Francis Melancon, USWA Dist. 9 subdistrict director, covering La. and Miss., said his group will seek full restitution of money it considers owed by Dauterive.

St. Bernard Parish president Charles Ponstein doesn’t intend to ask Dauterive to resign his parish position pending further developments. “I’ve never seen anything official” on the Dauterive matter, Ponstein said, saying he doubted Dauterive would be removed from the parish board because of an investigation involving something not connected to parish government unless criminal charges resulted. [Times-Picayune (New Orleans) 6/22/02]