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Former Union Chief Charged in Conspiracy

October 4, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The former head of the Washington Teachers’ Union was charged Friday with helping loot the union’s treasury of more than $2.5 million.

Barbara A. Bullock was charged with mail fraud and conspiracy. The U.S. attorney’s office found that she conspired with her former assistant, Gwendolyn M. Hemphill, and former union treasurer James O. Baxter between November 1995 and October 2002 to defraud the union’s members. The allegations include theft, embezzlement and diversion of funds from union accounts.

Prosecutors said the three used union money to buy luxury items, electronics, artwork and tickets to sports and entertainment events.

Documents in the case also said Bullock instructed the District of Columbia schools payroll department to levy a surcharge of $144 on each teacher’s paycheck. Of almost $827,000 collected, more than $720,000 was improperly withheld and divided among Bullock, Hemphill and Baxter. Neither Hemphill nor Baxter has been charged in the case.

Errol Alderman, a former D.C. Health Department employee who had no connection with the union, was charged Tuesday with conspiracy. Alderman allegedly helped Hemphill’s son-in-law, Michael Martin, launder almost $484,000 through a company created to filter money back to union officials.

Martin and Leroy Holmes _ Bullock’s former chauffeur _ pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the union. Their plea agreements call for them to cooperate in the investigation.

The American Federation of Teachers is suing Bullock, Hemphill, Baxter and five other defendants, seeking restitution.

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