Fred Correll and his son-in-law, Ryan Sherard, if nothing else, have their bank accounts intact. But even those might not last long. On or just before February 5, Correll and Sherard, two longtime Southern California International Brotherhood of Teamsters leaders, struck plea deals with federal prosecutors related to alleged criminal activity at Teamsters District Council 2, located in Fullerton (Orange County). Correll had been charged the previous week with felony embezzlement of union assets and filing a false income tax return; Sherard had been charged with knowingly omitting information from a union financial statement he filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The plea agreements call for the shortest sentences available.
Teamsters District Council 2 represents nearly 9,000 printing and paper trade workers in Southern California. Court documents indicate that Correll, now 79, secretary-treasurer of the council since 1972, was charged the prior week with felony theft. He originally pleaded not guilty at a procedural arraignment. In agreeing to plead guilty, he admitted to obtaining $10,000 in unauthorized income from the labor organization in 2009 and then failing to report this sum on his federal income tax form. Related to this, Sherard, district president since 2011, admitted to failing to report $9,635 in union-related income on the district’s DOL financial reporting form. Correll and Sherard each waived their right to a grand jury review. Because of their insubstantial criminal histories, each managed to secure a relatively light sentence. Sentencing dates will be established once formal guilty pleas are filed in Santa Ana federal court.
The defendants’ problems, however, don’t end there. In a separate civil suit, the union is alleging Correll and Sherard during 2005-11 engaged in an “extravagant spending spree” with its assets. The union is charging that the pair embezzled at least $1 million, diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars alone for hotel stays, lavish restaurant meals, limousine rides, office parties and groceries. Correll also allegedly engaged in “blatant nepotism” by hiring unqualified family members for union posts, including Sherard, who at the time had begun to date Correll’s stepdaughter. Stop the presses: The union is said to be financially troubled.