John Sigafus didn’t take the union auditor seriously. He now has to take the county prosecutor seriously. Sigafus, formerly secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge W-335 in Superior, Wisconsin, was charged on September 27 in Douglas County District Court with embezzling more than $7,000 from his union. According to the criminal complaint, Sigafus, 42, a resident of nearby South Range, Wisc., committed various acts of check forgery and improper bonus disbursements over a four-year period. The local represents employees at Koppers Industries Inc., where Sigafus had worked.
Back in 2002 Sigafus allegedly paid $3,350 in unauthorized Christmas bonuses to union members, even though a union auditor told him at the time that such payments were improper. He continued to distribute bonuses out of the union treasury through 2005. Of the 2005 money, $1,400 was recovered. Additionally, Sigafus is accused of writing checks to himself totaling more than $2,900 to cover such expenses as a bogus union training seminar, a nonexistent order for a filing cabinet, and a loan to pay for a lawsuit never filed. Of the 20 checks written to Sigafus, cash or nonunion members, four had borne the signature of local President Carl Johnson, though without the latter’s knowledge. Generosity has its limits. (Superior Daily Telegram, 10/4/07).