Spitzer Suit Seeks Restitution And Bar Against Running For Election

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a lawsuit against former officers of a Monroe County labor union for their waste and mismanagement of union funds. The suit seeks a return of the monies to the union and its members, production of records related to an accounting of the financial operations of the union, and an order barring the officials from seeking office in an upcoming union election.

The former officials of the Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals, (RAP) an 800 member union representing teachers' aides in the Rochester City School District, are alleged to have breached their fiduciary obligations to their members and violated state labor and not-for-profit corporation laws by making excessive and unauthorized payments to themselves, failing to keep adequate financial records, and failing to provide mandatory financial reports to their members and state officials charged with enforcement of labor rules.

Former RAP President Linda Nash, vice president Charles Francis and Secretary Treasurer Barbara Krug were removed from office by State Supreme Court Justice Robert Lunn on August 29, 2002, after he overturned a union election held last spring, ordered a new election and placed the union under temporary stewardship. The Attorney General's complaint alleges that certain of the officers received unauthorized stipends of up to $61,000 a year, while still receiving their full salary from the school district and paid release time to conduct union business. The complaint also alleges numerous instances of unauthorized travel expenses.

"Teachers' aides fulfill a vital function in our schools," Spitzer said. "RAP is supposed to be a strong advocate for the aides and for students. Instead, the officers of the union enriched themselves at the expense of members and the school district. These officials must account for their misdeeds."

The Attorney General's action also seeks an order permanently barring these individuals from holding office in a union or non-profit organization.

The suit names the following individuals:

  • Linda Nash, Former President of RAP, is charged with violating her fiduciary duties to the members of RAP by accepting and receiving an unreasonable salary and travel benefits, failing to provide accurate and complete annual financial statements, and failing to maintain complete and accurate financial records.
  • Charles Francis, Former Vice-President of RAP, is charged with breaching his fiduciary duties to the members of RAP by allowing Nash to receive unreasonable salary and benefits and receiving unauthorized stipends from RAP assets.
  • Barbara Krug, Former Secretary Treasurer of RAP, is charged with breaching her fiduciary duties to the members of RAP by allowing Nash to receive unreasonable salary and benefits, by receiving unauthorized stipends from RAP assets, by failing to provide accurate and complete annual financial statements, and by failing to maintain complete and accurate financial records.
  • Janette Hannah, Former Director/Officer of RAP, is charged with breaching her fiduciary duties to the members of RAP by allowing Nash to receive unreasonable salary and benefits and receiving unauthorized stipends from RAP assets.
  • Diane Leone, Former Director/Officer of RAP, is charged with breaching her fiduciary duties to the members of RAP by allowing Nash to receive unreasonable salary and benefits and receiving unauthorized stipends from RAP assets.

The case was referred to the Attorney General's Office by the State Department of Labor, which has been investigating the union since 1998. Spitzer thanked State Labor Commissioner Linda Angello and her staff for their work on this investigation.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General James W. Versocki and Labor Bureau Chief Patricia Smith.

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