IAFF For Sale: Lion Apparel

Lion Apparel and the IAFF’s Nicholas Del Re

Three months ago I wrote of the IAFF’s fatal mistake of engaging in a financial relationship with health and safety product manufacturers.

Harold Schaitberger’s decision to take their money for advertising, including from Lion Apparel,  was not only proof of his manic deal making, it also destroyed our ability to protect our members where it matters most: in the field.

The IAFF ceased to fulfill the crucial mission of safety and health advocacy the instant we began to accept advertising from them. 

It is a reckless conflict of interest for a labor union that supposedly holds health and safety as a top priority to promote the products of those we are effectively responsible for overseeing.

But, under the Schaitberger administration, ethical conflicts of interest are simply business as usual.

Steak Dinners Courtesy of Lion

Friday’s press reported that FDNY Deputy Chief and longtime IAFF Haz Mat instructor Nicholas Del Re had accepted gifts from Lion Apparel, an IAFF advertiser.

According to the Daily News, “The head of the FDNY’s hazardous materials unit found himself in quite a mess after he accepted steak dinners and other gifts from a company that supplies the department with gear.

Deputy Chief Nicholas Del Re was fined $7,000 for violating conflict-of-interest rules after he raked in the perks from firefighter uniform maker Lion Apparel, city documents show.

Del Re, 50, was courted by the company after he recommended that the FDNY buy a Lion-manufactured MT94 protective suit in 2008, documents show.

The FDNY bought 113 of the $1,575 suits in September 2009, 604 in May 2010 and 25 in December 2011.”

Corruption is Hard to Hide

Someone obviously gave Del Re up to the Department of Investigations once again underscoring how hard it is to sell out without getting caught.

Del Re forfeited his integrity for a grand total of $857.67.

Most importantly, Del Re took the gifts AFTER he made the recommendation to purchase the equipment.

Financial conflicts of interest are complicated and insidious.  Looking at a single transaction or event is naive, absurd and foolish.

The entire complex environment needs to be examined to see the effects of these cozy relationships: there are many ways for a vendor to say thank you.

In fact, the purpose of strong ethical rules is to stop the misconduct before it even gets started.

When I wrote about this issue originally, John Teefy, also an IAFF Haz Mat instructor, took me on saying, “These vendors make money off our departments and I have no problem taking some of that money back.”

Nicholas Del Re must have taken him literally.

Teefy went on to say that, “Partnerships are not bad.”  These “partnerships” are.

Schaitberger and the board have sold our health and our safety for 30 pieces of silver.

Lion Apparel is proof of that.

If IAFF leaders were really serious about stopping firefighter funerals they would stop whoring out the IAFF.

It’s time to clean up our house.

IAFF Resolution 10 is needed now more than ever.

Care About Ethics and the Survival of Our Union?

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