UTLA: WHERE IS THE MONEY?In 2005 The UTLA House of Representatives passed a motion renaming the crisis fund the strike fund, with 3% of member dues deposited into the fund each month. This motion reads as follows: "Further move that no money may be withdrawn from the Strike Fund, nor any deposits to the strike fund be directed elsewhere, except in the case of a member sanctioned labor action. In the case of a member sanctioned labor action, union leaders may use the funds as needed in pursuance of the aims of the labor action. In order not to bind the hands of the union leadership in times of crisis, further move that limitations on use of monies in the strike fund may be overridden by a 2/3 vote of the UTLA House of Representatives."On May 16th, 2012 a motion titled "Strike Preparation Motion" was passed at the South Area Meeting chaired by Mrs. Ingrid Villeda. This motion was intended to start preparations toward a possible strike. A section of this motion read as follows: "In light of continued attacks against our profession by LAUSD, move that UTLA will begin preparation for a an immediate job action.". Later, this motion was also passed at a Board of Directors meeting.On October 19th, 2012, Arlene Inouye, published a section on the United Teachers Newspaper titled: "Your Dues and Proposition 32." On this article, Arlene makes reference on how dues are supposed to be used under California Law. She wrote: "Under California law, a small portion of your dues money may be spent on member education regarding propositions and other political issues(e.g., mailings to members)." In light of a high level of secrecy under which the current UTLA administration operates, this situation can not be cleared out of any especulation on how the money was used by UTLA leaders. In any case, even if the law says that a portion of UTLA dues could be used for political issues, that is not what the $3,000,000.00 Dollars were supposed to be used according to the motion passed and approved by the HOR. The motion stated specifically that the money was supposed to be used for strike preparation.
On October 29th, 2014, the Board of Directors in a unanimous vote passed a motion to move funds from the strike fund. The language of the motion indicated the following: "We move that up to $3 million be moved from the Strike Fund to the General Operating Budget for specific organizing activities to build strike readiness." The Rationale of the motion stated the following: It is estimated to cost over $3 million Dollars for a strike preparation.At the January 14th, 2015 House of Representatives meeting, the House members voted to approve the Board of Directors, October 29, 2014 motion to move up to $3 million from the UTLA Strike Fund for strike preparations. In an effort to guarantee a favorable vote for this motion, Arlene Inouye presented a document, dated only as January 2015, where she attempted to convince the HOR members to vote in favor of the $3 million Dollars disbursement in light of a possible strike. Arlene's document was titled "Letter from the UTLA Treasurer on Critical House Motion". This document provided background information and also stated that this funds "were to be used for organizing as we prepare for a serious threat of a strike". Nonetheless, before this motion was voted on and approved by the HOR, there was a significant amendment to this motion that indicated that UTLA treasurer Arlene Inouye, must report to the HOR how this funds were beingused. None of that has ever happened. No report was made on how these funds were being spent even when an HOR member requested that information via email on Sunday, April 26, 2015 10:08 PM.Also, on the January 14th, 2015 document, UTLA Treasurer, Arlene Inouye provided general estimates on how the money withdrawn from the strike fund was supposed to be used. Nonetheless, the numbers did not add up. There seemed to be a mismatch on how much money was requested by the motion and how much they intended to use. As a matter of fact, the sum of the projected expenses roughly reached $1.1 Million Dollars. However the union leaders requested the amount of $3.000.000.00.On the October 29th, 2014 BOD motion, there seems to be a discrepancy at the bottom of these amounts presented by Arlene Inouye. The total expenses presented by Arlene only add up to $2,559,800.00. If we subtract this amount from the original $3,000,000.00, then we have a difference of $440,000.00. that seem to be missing from this equation and that are unaccounted for. Using Arleen's dubious figures she is still short $440.000.00. Where did this money go?
Since UTLA is backing BOE candidates, there is a likely hood that the three million Dollars were taken out from the strike fund not for strike preparation as claimed on the October 29th, 2014 motion, but most probably to support politicians not only from the Democratic party Kyser and Bladovic but also the Republican activist Scott Schmerelson. Asa matter of fact, this argument seems to be corroborated by a LA Times article written by Howard Blume, dated May 15th, 2015, referrring to UTLA, that reads as follows: "The union has spent more than $440,000...". Coincidentally this amount coincide with the $440,000.00 missing from the $3,000,000.00. The possible use of this money in an electoral campaign is not just a mere coincidence nor a simple mistake. We have to take into consideration that the 3 million Dollars approved by the House of Representatives was supposed to be used for strike preparations. This seems to indicate that there may be a possible act of embezzlement here and that needs to be investigated by proper authorities. http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-lausd-election-money-20150515-story.html#UTLA Treasurer Arlene Inouye projected expenses presented to the HOR:Revamping our data system $350,000.0045,000 pickets signs $50,000.00Robocalls $18,000.00Buses to events $20,000.00Member flyers $60,000.00Community Flyers $120,000.00Legal costs $200,000.00Special meetings $100,000.00Release time for 20 organizers $236,000.00As we can see, the October 29, 2014 motion indicated clearly that these funds were supposed to be used for specific organizing activities to build strike readiness. The rationale of the motion indicated that it was estimated to cost over $3 Million Dollars for a strike preparation and also included in part how the money was going to be spent. However, in the absence of a strike, it is obvious that this money was never used in its entirety and the majority of these funds must be returned to the Strike Funds where they originally came from. Nowhere in the motion said that the money could be used for any other purpose. In any case, if part of the approved $3 million Dollars were used on something else, this would clearly be an act of a clear mis-use of funds. Arlene Inouye has not presented any clear documentation to indicate how these funds have been used and how much it is left if any.Possibilities: It is likely that this money may no longer be on the hands of the leadership. In the absence of no report on how these funds have been used, or if any of these funds still exist, there is high a possibility that this money may have been used to finance the LAUSD Board of Ed reelection of Bennet Kyser, Richard Bladovic, and even Scott Schmerelson a GOP activist and possible lobbyist in Sacramento. We must understand that all these school board candidates were endorsed by UTLA at a time when UTLA was going through one of its worst economic times in its history. It has been known for years that Arlene Inouye, UTLA Treasurer, has repeatedly tried to raise union dues and has done structural adjustments under the pretext that UTLA was running on red numbers. As part of those adjustments, standing committee budgets were reduced. It is fair to suggest then that the missing $3 million Dollars may have been used in an unapproved political campaign to support candidates to the LAUSD school Board race. If this turns out to be the case, we may be facing the biggest misuse of funds in the history of a teacher's union in California.
John Dixon, Retired Teacher
On Sat, May 16, 2015 at 6:52 PM, Rene <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Subject: Re: Informational Meeting
I'm not sure why I got this e-mail but you should know that this attorney does NOT seem to practice in the area of employment discrimination according to his website. http://michaelreznicklaw.com/practice/
This attorney (Reznick) represents banking industry & insurance. Why oh why was he contacted?
Employment discrimination requires expertise.I suggest contacting Lawless and Lawless in San Francisco. Their number is 800-488-1913; their website is: http://www.lawless-lawless.com/They are considered top employment lawyers!!!Good luck!Kathy
Dear Sirs and Madam's,--Please be advised that we have completed a preliminary review and investigation regarding claims made by teachers, former teachers, and administrators related to age discrimination, wrongful termination, and harassment. We have concluded that further investigation is warranted and wish to schedule a meeting to discuss the possibility of filing an action against LAUSD. The meeting will provide you with general information regarding our findings and give an opportunity for each of you to consider some of the legal options that may be available to you. The meeting date, time and location have yet to be determined but please note that it will be held in June barring any unforeseen changes with the attorney's court appearance schedules.Some of you who have left messages have erroneously stated that we are your lawyers with respect to a "wrongful termination" case against the LAUSD. Please be advised that this is not the case and we have no intention of filing a "wrongful termination" case against the LAUSD on your behalf or anyone else's behalf in any capacity at this time. Please be further advised that we are NOT your lawyers at the present time, we have never rendered legal advice to any of you despite any misunderstandings any of you may have in that regard and we do not intend by this communication to provide you with any legal advice whatsoever or to establish an attorney-client relationship with you.
Similarly, while Lenny Isenberg has graciously agreed to serve as a liaison between some of you and this office and has thus given our numbers out to you in order to put you in contact with us for informational purposes only, we do not represent Lenny Isenberg as his attorneys or in any other capacity.
Thus, to the extent that any of you may have claims or potential claims against the LAUSD that require immediate action by virtue of the running of the applicable statute of limitations, or claims that need to go through the administrative process at the LAUSD, we hereby encourage you to seek independent legal advice as soon as possible. Accordingly, you must take steps to protect your own legal interests if you have claims or potential claims against the LAUSD rather than relying on us for anything. Simply stated, we have not yet decided whether we intend to pursue any claims on a representative as opposed to individual basis against the LAUSD. As a consequence, please be advised that our only purpose to date in communicating with any of you has been to obtain information from you so that we can analyze the facts of your claims or potential claims for the sole purpose of determining at some later date whether or not to pursue some type of legal action against the LAUSD on a collective rather than individual basis. Additionally, please note that the meeting is for informational purposes and your attendance does not establish an attorney-client relationship or ensure legal representation by either Mr. Reznick or Mr. Dodell. We will provide the date, time and location as soon as the meeting has been scheduled.Regards,SharonSharon AyersParalegalCell: 747.800.1504
Website: www.MichaelReznickLaw.com283 Ocho Rios Way
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21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 1160
Warner Center, California 91367
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