Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Do Unions Really Want Casinos?

Embezzling grows from addiction to casinos
Ex-union treasurer latest to be convicted

by Dan Herbeck

Thomas M. Pokrywczynski's downfall was his addiction to gambling at local casinos.

The former union treasurer admitted this week to stealing $71,000 from Transit Workers Local 1342. He stole an additional $183,000 from a statewide lobbying group representing the rights of transit workers, making his total theft $254,000.

Pokrywczynski told a federal judge that he stole because he needed cash to gamble at casinos. He is the latest of several local people convicted of large-scale embezzlements linked to legalized casino gambling.
Lest anything think this is an isolated case, it's not. The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state's largest union, was embezzled of $802,000 just a few years ago, all $802,000 of it going to pay one employee's gambling addiction -- it cost $300,000 in accounting expenses just to figure out how much was gone.

The MTA only ever got back a little over $500k -- from Connecticut's insurance industry, not its casinos. Steve Bailey, before he left the Globe, had some choice words for the MTA on that one. Seems to me unions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts just may want to think twice about whether or not they really want casinos in Massachusetts. When two people can cost them roughly $1.5 million dollars, and legalized slots doubles the rate of problem gamblers within 50 miles (to 5% of the population), it doesn't seem like such a safe bet anymore.


Anonymous said...

If the Mass Teachers Assoc was so awash with cash that they didn't miss any till more than half a mill was gone, methinks thay has too much.

Middleboro Remembers said...

Many, if not most, crimes of embezzlement go unreported to spare the organization public embarrassment.

Some companies lack insurance and simply go out of business. Others may have private restitution agreements.

What is reported is only the tip of the iceberg.

While these cases are shocking, what don't we know about the full extent of embezzlement caused by gambling addiction?

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