Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Head of Charity Guilty of Looting It William Aramony Spent United Way Money on High Living, Including a Mistress of 17

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Head of Charity Guilty of Looting It William Aramony Spent United Way Money on High Living, Including a Mistress of 17

Article excerpt

William Aramony, former president of the national United Way, was convicted Monday of stealing nearly $600,000 from the charity and lavishing it on young women, some in their teens.

A federal jury deliberated more than seven days before finding Aramony guilty of 25 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

Aramony was charged along with Thomas J. Merlo and Stephen J. Paulachak with siphoning off money that had been donated to the charity by businesses and individuals. Merlo was convicted of 17 counts; Paulachak, of eight.

After the scandal broke in 1991, donations to United Way fell off sharply. They recovered slowly but have never reached the prescandal level of $3.1 billion in 1990.

Aramony and Merlo could get about five years in prison. Paulachak could get about two years. Sentencing was set for June 14.

During the three-week trial, the government depicted Aramony, 67, as a dictatorial executive who treated girlfriends and cronies to all-expenses-paid vacations and tried to intimidate or buy off those who might expose him.

Prosecutors said he repeatedly propositioned younger women and romanced them with United Way money, billing the charity for getaways to London, Paris, Egypt, Las Vegas and other spots.

One prosecution witness testified that Aramony had propositioned her at a business meeting with a Roman Catholic priest.

The defense contended that Aramony, who led the charity for 22 years until he resigned in disgrace in 1992, suffered from brain atrophy that made him more impulsive and less able to reason. They also argued that any abuses resulted from lax oversight by United Way's board of directors and bumbling by his staff. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.

Aramony's attorney, William Moffitt, noted that U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton threw out about half the charges against each defendant last month.

"They won half the case, and we won half the case," Moffitt said. "We have a tremendous appeal ready. No one won a clear-cut victory in this case."

The jury reviewed more than 1,000 documents ranging from income tax forms and accounting ledgers to a letter detailing Aramony's affair with Lori Villasor, who was 17 when their four-year affair began in 1986. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.