Ethics: IAFF’s Schaitberger Under DOL Scrutiny

2010 Reporting at Issue

Harold Schaitberger

Harold Schaitberger

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger has attracted the attention of the United States Department of Labor (USDOL)  regarding his handling of financial disclosure requirements.

According to USDOL, they ” require public disclosure of certain financial transactions and financial interests of labor organization officers and employees and their spouses and minor children.

The purpose of disclosure, among other things, is to publicly identify an actual or potential conflict between the personal financial interests of a union officer or employee and his or her obligations to the union and its members.”

Schaitberger/Franzoni Real Estate Deals

The USDOL inquiry is in relation to Schaitberger’s $1,000,000 real estate transactions with James Franzoni, an insurance broker who does business with the IAFF and the IAFF Financial Corporation.

None of the deals were apparently reported to the USDOL.

Whether or not the deals fall under USDOL reporting provisions they are an obvious (and massive) conflict of interest.

Schaitberger also failed to disclose the deals to the IAFF executive board creating additional ethical breaches.

If the IAFF had an adequate and operating ethical policy it is highly doubtful that such a purchase would have been approved between the organization’s chief executive officer and a primary vendor.

One wonders if a staff member had made the deals if Schaitberger would have expected to be notified of them and to give his approval.

I’m betting the answer is yes.

It’s part of the special hypocrisy of the IAFF that what is good for the (grey) goose is not good for the gander.

If the chief of a fire department engaged in $1,000,000 real estate deals with the vendor who sells fire equipment and apparatus to the department there would be an ethics uproar and an effective union local would be asking some tough questions about impartiality and fairness.

Yet, when our own union is involved it’s A.O.K.

We have lost our sense of ethical direction and accountability.

Notifies IAFF Officers

All of the recent attention to IAFF ethics here and elsewhere is paying off.

The proof is in Schaitberger’s ironic decision to notify the Board and Trustees about the USDOL inquiry.

While the actual deals were kept from proper review, he knows that the rules are now different and disclosure and transparency are necessary as folks are watching.

It’s telling that the only real ethical accountability comes from outside the IAFF as the board, trustees and other senior leaders have abrogated their own ethical responsibility.


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  • Reg Verner says:

    Eric Lamar- your cry for transparency is fueled by your own hidden agenda. What is interesting is that your attempt to exploit an unethical IAFF staff only comes after your butt was removed. Your cry fowl is suspicious and quite frankly getting old. If you think your doing anyone a favour here but your own bitter self then your are as tainted as your are ignorant. You didn’t get the results you wanted from our 300 000 members so you selfishly take to the streets to push your agenda. From one brother to another STOP!

    • Eric Lamar says:

      You have absolutely no evidence to support your assertions that I have a “hidden agenda”, was”removed” or that I am “bitter.” When I retired after 12 years GP Schaitberger lauded my work and accomplishments.

      More importantly, it’s past time to inject a spirit of ethics into the IAFF.

      Get in the game.

  • Reg Verner says:

    Well… you are entitled to your opinion and you are entitled to freedom of speech. I would hope brother that you would at least appreciate our union’s autonomy and leave it on the Convention floor where it was rightfully dealt with. I would hope that a former senior staffer would understand that the most. I am not going to hate on a brother, but lets exercise some restraint here!

    • Eric Lamar says:

      The restraint that needs to be exercised is in the area of people acting without any regard for ethics or how such behavior effects the future of our union.

      Criticizing those who speak out on behalf of ethical behavior is shameful.

  • Reg Verner says:

    I guess my question is: Was the GP unethical when you worked for him? If so why didn’t you come out to us in such a public forum while you were still serving your tenure? Was being LAUDED for your work so important to you that you forgot to tell the rest of us what was going on? or was it a case of turning a blind eye out of convenience for your self? Brother, this is why I struggle with believing that your agenda is genuine. I am not sure If you can my mind at this point, and appealing to you to stop this post in the name of your brothers and sisters does not appear to be sinking in with you! So at this point it’s just too easy to wish you well and we’ll both have to live what the members want! Which brings us back to my point made earlier: The Convention spoke!

    • Eric Lamar says:

      I am comfortable with what I did while I was there, especially under the circumstances.

      Should Martin Luther King, Jr. have stopped speaking out when Bobby Kennedy or “cracker” southern democrats told him to hush up?

      I have no agenda other than transparency and now I am in a position to say that, whatever you or others may think or want.

  • Reg Verner says:

    I guess you helped me make my point!

    Martin Luther King jr. didn’t wait nor would he stand silent to keep himself in good with other American leaders. His integrity stood strong and he did what was right especially in that moment!! your Johnny come lately tactics just aren’t credible to me! I can’t get past that…sorry

  • Eric Lamar says:


    Whatever you say.

  • Perry Kaemmerling says:

    Mr. Lamar
    In regards to “Ethics”, how did you come across this email address in which you are using to advertise your blog?

  • John Kroll says:

    Mr. Lamar, I can’t begin to know the validity of your points regarding the actions of the GPS of my Union, but I am gravely concerned about your own ethics in the form of this article. You never disclosed your past and relationship with the person and organizations involved but defend your actions in the name of ethics. I will fully disclose, I have never held an office at any level or received compensation from my Union and have been a member of Local 1124 since 1998.
    Now back to the point, if the concern is valid I have faith in DOL to enforce the letter of the law, if greater ethical oversight is necessary I am confident many sharp minds are on the issue and an appropriate change will be enacted. If this is a vain attempt to sling mud in the hopes that some appearance of impropriety will discredit those with whom you have an ax to grind please stop, as all you can do is discredit yourself.
    Fraternally Yours

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