Union board member resigns over spending allegations

January 26, 2010 4:50:32 PM PST
Police are investigating one of their own. A union board member is accused of treating union donations as his own personal piggy bank. Tens of thousands of dollars are missing from an account for the Houston Police Officer's Union and now police are investigating one of their own union board members. The union board member in question immediately resigned his position and was relieved of duty with pay this morning, pending the outcome of an internal affairs HPD investigation. The union's president calls his alleged actions unacceptable and fully expects criminal charges will be filed.

It was a representative from the union board member's credit card company's fraud division who first alerted HPOU President Gary Blankinship. At issue was a check written from the police union's bank account designated for donated money. Blankinship, who then audited the account himself, was deeply disturbed by what he found.

In a written statement he told Eyewitness News, "Unfortunately, a board member and police officer has done a very bad thing. While this does involve misapplication of union proceeds, it's important to note that it does not involve any membership dues money."

The union board member and veteran police officer, who we are not naming because he hasn't been charged with a crime, allegedly stole a large amount of money from the union's coffers over the past year and a half. A union official told us the board member in question allegedly used the union's money to cover his personal credit card expenses.

Blankinship, who personally contacted the board member upon making the discovery, said, "It is unacceptable and truly disappointing to discover that one of our own has allegedly taken money from the union. As officers and fiduciaries of the union, we have a responsibility to make sure all union proceeds and property are accounted for."

Blankinship, who notified acting HPD Chief Charles McClelland immediately, says the board member plans to fully cooperate with this investigation and promised to make full restitution for the alleged transactions.


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