Oklahoma City AFSCME President Charged with Embezzlement; Pleads No Contest

At least William Bryles now has his easiest legal problems behind him. On July 26, Bryles, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2406, was charged in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma with four counts of embezzlement. He then pleaded no contest and signed a three-year deferred sentence order. The court also ordered Bryles to pay $11,174 in restitution to the Oklahoma City union, plus court costs. He had been arrested a year ago following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

As Union Corruption Update noted at the time, Bryles, now 54, a resident of Oklahoma City, was arrested last August 17 on seven separate embezzlement charges. He allegedly had diverted more than $15,000 in funds belonging to Local 2406, a city employee union, for such personal uses as basketball tournaments, restaurant meals, cell phone charges and flowers for his wife. “Bryles has engaged in a pattern of abuse of his powers as president of AFSCME Local 2406 and has used union funds for his own profit,” remarked a police detective at the time. The charges were based on allegations by independent witnesses. Not only did Bryles steal funds, these witnesses charged, but he also forged the signature of a former union vice president on union checks to make the transactions look legitimate. As evidence, police seized four computers, an external hard drive and boxes of financial records. The almost inevitable prosecution and plea agreement became a reality last month.

By then, Bryles apparently had established an even more serious pattern of abuse. Police records show that on separate occasions in 1999, 2005, 2013 and 2015, he had been accused of rape. He was not charged in any of these cases. But Lady Justice would come back to exact her revenge, for it was that 2005 attack that directly led to the embezzlement investigation. In that case, a woman, an unnamed former union secretary, filed a police complaint accusing Bryles of drugging and raping her. The cops decided to take a look at the union books. Bryles, as it turned out, was less than financially reliable, having filed for bankruptcy several times. Once he serves his current sentence, another one (or more) may lie ahead.