1st Charges Filed as AFT Belatedly Takes Over DC Local

The personal driver of disgraced Wash. Tchrs. Union (WTU) president Barbara Bullock was charged with laundering embezzled funds from the union on Jan. 27. That the charges were contained in an “Information” filed with the U.S. Dist. Ct. for D.C. — not an indictment — indicates that Leroy Holmes may be cooperating in the investigation of Bullock, ex-WTU Exec. Asst. Gwendolyn Hemphill, ex-Treasurer James O. Baxter, and some of their relatives, for embezzling millions of dollars from the WTU for at least five years.

And after years of ignoring the apparent cash-flow problems in the WTU, the Amer. Fedtn. of Teachers finally stepped in on Jan. 22, taking over the WTU. The AFT was forced to take over the WTU after its auditors concluded that Bullock and her cohorts stole some $5 million. With the WTU’s Exec. Bd. failing to detect any problem during the years in which the reported embezzlement took place, outside intervention was necessary.

But even as the AFT filed suit against the frmr. officials, U.S. Dist. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (U.S.D.C., DC, Clinton), considered a request by high school history teacher Nathan Saunders that a court-appointed receiver take over the WTU. Saunders and other D.C. teachers wonder why the AFT failed to take action after Bullock never produced an audit of the WTU, as required of all AFT affiliates every two years.

In the Information, Holmes was charged with money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C., Sec. 1956 (h). Holmes allegedly cashed WTU checks totaling more than $1 million, kept about $1,875 each time, then gave the rest back to one of the frmr. officials, who would use the cash to for personal purchases made on WTU credit cards. Many of these payments were then categorized as “membership services.” [Education Week 1/29/03, U.S.A.O. D.C. 1/27/03, Washington Post 1/23/03]