Furor in the sheriff's union - Page 3

Ambitious president under fire in lawsuit claiming financial impropriety

The document states that the Operating Engineers wanted SFDSA members to pay twice the amount for the same legal defense and since that wasn't "fair to the membership," he reached a new agreement with a private law firm for legal representation.

After ending the affiliation, however, the SFDSA continued to collect $27 a month from each member, totaling more than $67,500, according to the complaint.

During a Nov. 21 press conference, plaintiff Leake read from a statement that said, "Because of President Wong's concealment and refusal to provide access to DSA records, we are not able to determine the exact amount of missing funds, nor are we able to identify all the recipients of the misappropriated funds."

"President Wong has thus far avoided accountability for these missing funds by conducting a practice of concealing and refusing to provide access to SFDSA records," said Leake.

Even though SFDSA bylaws say that "all members in good standing shall have the right to examine the books," Owyang said the union members found it necessary to file a lawsuit to get internal financial information. "It's a sad situation," Tilton said, "when we have to get books opened up in federal court."

Murray said that he's provided the plaintiffs' attorneys with all of the information they need. "Some financial information was provided to us," said Louis Garcia, attorney for the plaintiffs. "But we have no confirmation or information regarding its authenticity. Also, the information is only a small portion of the total records that we're entitled to inspect."

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