Surprise, Diana Frey did show up in court today, after hiding out for the last couple of weeks to plead not guilty and was released on bond. Frey who is accused of stealing over $750,000 from the union she helped start back in 2003 and plans to fight the accusation with the same voracity that she used a public sector labor union as her personal check book, after all, what does she have to lose? But Frey isn’t the first and she certainly won’t be the last. The joke is ultimately on all of us who support these people with our trust, because the crimes they commit against us show incredible disrespect for the people who employee them.
Source article from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Frey, 51, was indicted last week on one count of wire fraud. She is accused of embezzling more than $757,000 from the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees, the union she helped create in 2003. She was its only president.
Roughly one of every two dollars that City Hall deposited in CODE’s account is alleged to have ended up in her pocket. The money came from union dues – each of the approximately 800 members pays $9 biweekly.
The wire fraud count alleges that she fraudulently wrote checks and made wire transfers, ATM withdrawals and credit card purchases to funnel members’ money into her own accounts or use them for her own benefit. Investigators said Frey deposited checks written to the union directly into her own account and wrote checks to herself out of union accounts.
The union elected a new president Tuesday – Donald Stiens, a city engineer who asked the State Employee Relations Board in April to look into the union’s finances. He fills the job at least until a special officers election in October.
Frey is considered AWOL from her city job at the Metropolitan Sewer District. She sent an email the day she was indicted that said she resigned from the city, but the city requires resignations in writing with signatures.
The Frey incident is not an unique case, where an official given the task of being responsible for large sums of money failed to be trustworthy? No. As the Diana Frey case has been transpiring, another breach of trust has been occurring. Meet Tippi Slaughter, the treasurer at the Butler County Board of Elections who was caught stealing $1,700.
See that article from Channel 12 here:
Tippi Slaughter was set to go before a judge today to ask that she be allowed to go to rehab for a substance abuse problem, delaying criminal prosecution. But today, her attorney withdrew the request and now prosecutors say the case could be resolved at her next court appearance-on August 10th-possibly with a plea deal.
Slaughter was fired by the Board of Elections after she was indicted on two counts of theft in office. She is accused of stealing $1700 from the Butler County Democratic Party where she served as treasurer.
The investigation into the missing money began after a break-in at the board offices. Slaughter’s former boyfriend, James Schmidt was charged with that crime.
These are two women with different levels of authority, and at different levels of crime committed. One crime is a rather small amount of money stolen; the other is a substantial amount. But both cases confirm in all of us what we all innately understand, that if the money we spend in taxes, or dues, is not carefully regulated by the public with some vigilant oversight, then there will be greedy hands who will attempt to take that money for their own personal interests. Then they will claim they are in need of more money from the tax payer when the accounting says that more is needed. The trouble is that even with these respected positions; the personnel in these positions cannot be trusted at face value.
The peril of these cases should be a sign to all, that public officials, every one of them are potential thieves who might steal our money for their own consumption and it matters very little to them if the behavior is legal or not. Some theft is after all legal and much of that occurs under the current tax code. But the illegal kind, the kind displayed between these two unassuming women should be an awakening of unparalleled caution. The ultimate villain is our own social complacency, which has emboldened these thieves to steal from us in such audacious ways, and respect was not even a consideration. For that aspect, every reader of these words should feel insulted.