Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Union funds missing; official removed

By Greg J. Borowski
of the Journal Sentinel staff
February 5, 1999
An official at a union representing employees at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and United Water -- a private company that has a contract with MMSD -- has been removed from his post amid questions about money missing from the union's treasury.

The matter has been turned over to federal investigators, said Richard Abelson, executive director of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

"I'm so appalled somebody would dip into our members' funds," Abelson said Thursday. "I don't care if he had the most altruistic reasons in the world, it's not sufficient."

Abelson said his office discovered the problems late last month when staffers were closing the books on 1998 activities and discovered AFSCME Local 366 was more than six months behind on its regular payments to District Council 48.

The local represents between 230 and 250 employees. About 35 locals, representing 10,500 members, belong to the district council. The monthly payments cover legal advice, negotiating costs and other matters.

Abelson said an audit is under way to determine how much money is missing -- but added it is clearly a significant amount. He also said the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. attorney's office have indicated they will investigate the matter.