Education A National Roundup

Settlement in D.C. Union Case Calls for Recouping Money

By Bess Keller — December 13, 2005 1 min read

A lawsuit filed by a District of Columbia teacher over millions embezzled from the Washington Teachers’ Union has been settled in a deal that requires the union and its national parent, the American Federation of Teachers, to try to recoup the money.

The settlement ends a dispute that began in 2002, when teacher Nathan Saunders II filed a federal lawsuit against former top union officials, the union’s former board of trustees, the AFT, and a local bank. Mr. Saunders was elected vice president of the local this year after the AFT relinquished the control it had assumed in the wake of the embezzlement scandal.

The suit coincided with a criminal investigation that led to the conviction in 2003 of former WTU President Barbara A. Bullock. Two other former union leaders were convicted last summer.

Mr. Saunders’ lawsuit alleges that the union’s board of directors should have, but failed to, detect the theft of around $5 million in members’ dues by the officials between 1995 and 2002.

The agreement calls for the union and the AFT to jointly pursue legal claims against the individuals involved in the fraud and those who may have faciliated the embezzlement, including the bank. The bank has denied wrongdoing.