Lowell Wreh headed a union that represented jail workers. Now he faces the possibility of being an inmate. On January 20, Wreh, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1707, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one count of wire fraud in the amount of $7,642 against the Kansas City, Mo. union, which represents employees of the Jackson County Department of Corrections. The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Wreh became acting president of AFSCME Local 1707 in October 2012 and then permanent president in July 2013. His predecessor, Jesse Morgan, left under a cloud of suspicion following an internal audit that discovered more than $185,000 worth of missing funds. Morgan would be indicted on federal charges, eventually pleading guilty to defrauding the union of about $138,000. Wreh wasn’t much of an improvement. According to court records, he used his position to write $7,642 worth of union bank checks for his own personal use during January 2013-February 2014. He was suspended in April 2014 and dismissed outright that August. Under the terms of the plea deal, Wreh will have to pay full restitution.