Discussed Widely Known Conflict of Interest
When former 7th district IAFF vice-president Rick Walsh released his bombshell video last week he indicated that the Schaitberger inspired kangaroo court which led to his resignation was accusing him of releasing a confidential document.
Walsh went on to point out that the document in question was not only not confidential, it was freely available on the US Department of Labor website for anyone to view.
Here’s the link.
The Story Behind The Link
Schaitberger, already well known for his many shady deals, concluded a nearly $1,000,000 real estate purchase with James Franzoni, his crony, who also does substantial business with the IAFF and the IAFF-FC.
The deal was a clear and obvious conflict of interest which should have been disclosed to the Department of Labor, but Schaitberger chose to try and hide it instead.
It didn’t work.
He was found out and had to report the deal.
Tries to Hide Conflict From Us
In trying to keep his guilt from the membership he revealed the DOL finding in secret session at a Board Meeting in Florida.
IAFF General Counsel Tom Woodley was there to give Schaitberger some much needed cover.
“It was explained by IAFF General Counsel Tom Woodley that, under federal law and Labor Department regulations, it should not be necessary for me to file an amended LM-30 report for the year 2010 with regard to my purchase of a 50 percent interest in certain real estate and related property in that year.”
Isn’t the role of the IAFF General Counsel to represent the IAFF?
Why is he defending Schaitberger’s appalling behavior to the board?
Even Schaitberger admitted, “As you know, the filing of these reports is an individual responsibility which does not involve our union.”
So, why involve Woodley?
In fact, Jim Franzoni’s son worked for Woodley’s law firm and was assigned to the IAFF, another revealing turn of events.
Further Weakens IAFF Ethics
Then, the IAFF executive board met and further eroded the already anemic ethics policy.
Instead of strengthening it to ensure honesty and openness, they have re-written the policy to allow Shady Schait to do as he pleases while making disclosure a joke.
The new policy says:
“The mere holding of a personal financial interest in a vendor or other entity with which the IAFF transacts does not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest. To address a potential conflict of interest that may be contrary to this code, an IAFF officer should promptly disclose the matter, in writing, to the IAFF executive board or to an appropriate committee of the executive board.”
This is, of course, double-speak as all conflicts of interest inherently include “potential.”
In fact, the potential is the conflict.
And note that in the rules re-write a conflict “should” be disclosed rather than shall.
As usual, Shady Schait, the hog at the trough, wants to eat his cake and have it too.
Not only has Shady Schait created a new definition for conflict of interest to suit his needs, he intends to hide future conflicts from view:
“All allegations [of conflict of interest] and review shall be kept confidential unless and until the ad hoc ethical practices committee finds reasonable cause to bring the matter to the attention of the IAFF executive board. The committee shall adopt reasonable measures to ensure that confidentiality is maintained, including enforceable sanctions for breach of confidentiality.”
It may be news to Shady Schait but most conflicts of interest happen confidentially and “under the radar.”
The way to avoid them is to openly disclose all activities, especially those that may represent a conflict threat or potential.
The board’s practice and approach will be to hide behind an entirely phony claim of confidentiality using the threat of “enforceable sanctions” for a supposed “breach.”
The Final Insult
Shady Schait engaged in a blatant conflict-of-interest, was caught at it and then tried to hide it.
When it was properly discussed by a board member, he effectively blackmailed the DVP into resigning.
So much for ethics and honest leadership at the IAFF.
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