The president of Local 372 — which represents some of the lowest-paid city staffers — has drained the group’s coffers on salary hikes, unnecessary decorating and a $10 million Manhattan office space, two members allege in a new lawsuit.
Union members Paul Brathwaite, who is running for president, and Anthony Gordon, who is running for executive vice president, leveled the explosive charges against current president Shaun Francois in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court and aimed at shedding more light on the organization’s books.
Local 372 represents about 23,000 Department of Education employees who do not work as teachers or in security positions, the filing states.
The pair allege that Francois’ “profligate spending” has led to a $10 million decline in the group’s liquid assets over five years, the suit says.
In 2019, the union bought an office space for $9,289,821 at 20 West 33rd Street, taking out a mortgage of $5 million.
“[The union] is now stuck with an office condominium in the midst of a commercial real estate crash,” the suit states.
The suit alleges money was squandered on redecorating the union’s office — and that Francois named one of the refurbished rooms “The Charles Hughes Executive Conference Room” in homage to the longtime former president, who was convicted in 1999 of embezzling $2 million. The suit doesn’t specify the office’s location.
The filing also blasts Francois for his growing salary. In 2014, he earned $175,000, and by 2018, the latest year for which information is available, he raked in $221,579, according to the suit. He received an additional stipend of $21,000 for expenses.
The suit also names union treasurer David Keye and others, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and imprudent spending.
They’re asking a judge to force the leaders to release the union’s financial information prior to the upcoming election in October.
They allege that Francois and Keye keep the union’s finances a closely guarded secret, refusing to give the board or members access to the books — in violation of Local 372’s Constitution.
Francois and Keye didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Trump praises Nissan for making 2021 Rogue at Tennessee plant
President Trump on Tuesday hailed Nissan for planning to roll out its new Rogue vehicle from its plant in Tennessee this fall.
“Nissan is rolling out it’s 2021 ROGUE from TENNESSEE. Great!,” the president posted on Twitter.
The Japanese automaker has said it will make the revamped Rogue crossover — its best selling vehicle — available to dealerships this fall.
Nissan reopened its Smyrna, Tenn., plant on June 8 after closing it and several other US locations or limiting shifts in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It announced the beginning of production for the vehicle at the Smyrna assembly plant on Tuesday, The Tennessean reported.
The factory employs more than 8,000 workers and has the capacity to make about 640,000 vehicles a year.
Witnesses in Madeleine McCann disappearance ‘terrified’ to speak
International authorities are continuing work to build a case against the man suspected of abducting and murdering Madeleine McCann, but are saying that key witnesses are “terrified” and “too scared to speak out.”
According to The Daily Star, prime suspect Christian Brueckner, 43, “terrified many of the people who he has come across in his life” — and as a result, potential witnesses are unwilling to talk about his alleged involvement in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
Christian Brueckner’s lawyer has previously said that Brueckner denied any involvement in the 13-year case of the missing British toddler who disappeared while on vacation with her family in Portugal.
He is currently incarcerated in Germany and is scheduled to begin a seven-year sentence after his conviction in the 2005 rape of an American woman.
And now it has been reported that police are encouraging anyone with information that can tie Brueckner to Madeleine’s disappearance to come forward.
Although officials have said they have no “smoking gun” in the case, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has expressed confidence that Brueckner is responsible.
“All I can say is this is like a puzzle and there are many pieces that lead us to believe Christian B is responsible,” Wolters said in an interview, according to MEAWW.
“One of the pieces is the signal from the mobile phone he was using at the time Madeleine McCann disappeared and has been shown to have been in the area of the Ocean Club resort where she was staying.”
Wolters has also asserted that Madeleine is dead, though investigators have not yet found her remains.
“We have nothing to indicate she could be alive. Everything we have points to her being dead. We have no margin of maneuver.”
“The result of our investigation does not point in any way to the possibility the suspect might have kept Madeleine alive.”
Despite Wolters’ assertions, Madeleine McCann’s parents reportedly are still holding on to hope that she will be found alive and unharmed.
“Until a body is found and it is proved to be Madeleine’s, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope,” a source close to the family told The Sun.
“These latest ‘she’s dead but there’s no body’ theories have been repeated over the past three-and-a-half months but in all this time there appears to be no significant new development.”
“Nothing has changed for them. They will continuing hoping until they know for sure.”
If alive, she would now be aged 17.
“We would like to thank the police forces involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine. All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice,” the McCanns said in June after authorities said they had identified a suspect, The Mirror reported.
While German investigators assert evidence points to Madeleine McCann no longer being alive, the Metropolitan Police Service in London continues to investigate her disappearance as a missing persons case.
Madeleine was only three years old when she disappeared from Portugal’s Praia da Luz in 2007.
Police have said Brueckner was living in the area at the time and has been linked to a number of sexual assaults at the resort.
Kate and Gerry will not give up hope until a body is found, a family friend said.
Six shot in NYC despite NYPD’s claims that gunplay is down
Six people were shot as gunplay continued across the city Monday and early Tuesday, cops said.
The latest incident came around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, when a 29-year-old man was blasted in the torso on West 117th Street near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd in Harlem, police said.
He was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Late Monday night, a 26-year-old man was shot in the hip around 10 p.m. on Fulton Street near Carlton Avenue in Clinton Hill. He was taken to Methodist Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspect took off, heading west on Fulton Street, cops said.
About a half-hour earlier, a 55-year-old man was shot in both legs as he attended a barbecue on East 51st Street near Tilden Avenue in East Flatbush around 9:30 p.m.
A white van pulled up, and someone inside opened fire before taking off, cops said.
Additionally, a man who was gunned down in Hollis, Queens Saturday night died on Monday, cops said Tuesday morning.
Rahiem Williams, 37, was blasted in the head on 191st Street near Jamaica Avenue just after 9 p.m., cops said.
He was rushed to NYC Health & Hospitals/Queens, where he succumbed to his injuries, police said.
No arrests have been made.
In total on Monday, five people were shot in five separate incidents, according to preliminary numbers released by the NYPD. One person was fatally shot — a 27-year-old man in East New York.
Four people were shot in two separate incidents on that day last year, which was a Saturday.
In a Monday morning NY1 interview, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the city — recently battling surging shooting numbers — is beginning to see a turnaround.
“When you look at June, July we had weeks approaching 70 shooting incidents,” the top cop said. “We came in with 28 [last] week. We still have a long way to go. But in terms of getting individuals off the streets that are carrying guns, that’s our total focus right now.”
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