Teacher Seeks to Recoup Money; Suit Goes after Stolen Dues

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A high-ranking Washington Teachers Union official has reached a tentative deal to settle a federal lawsuit he filed seeking to recoup millions of dollars in embezzled teacher dues.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Wednesday released a "proposed resolution" in the lawsuit that Nathan Saunders filed in 2002 against the union's former board of trustees. Mr. Saunders was a D.C. public schools teacher in 2002; today, he is the union's vice president.

Mr. Saunders said the union leadership failed to detect the pilfering of teacher dues between 1995 and 2002 by top union executives, who have been convicted of fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement and other charges.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Saunders also sued Independence Federal Savings Bank, where the union executives did much of their banking. The company has said it has cooperated in the federal probe.

Former union President Barbara A. Bullock, who pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy, is serving a nine-year prison sentence. Two other leaders were convicted last month for their roles in the scheme to embezzle nearly $5 million in teacher union dues.

Mr. Saunders was a teacher at Anacostia High School in the District when he filed the lawsuit in 2002. He became the union's vice president earlier this year.

The tentative agreement calls for the WTU and its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers, to "jointly pursue the recovery of money from those who embezzled and absconded with millions of dollars from the WTU," the settlement document states. …