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L.A. Now Live: Discuss indictment of rising SEIU, labor leader

August 1, 2012 |  6:00 am

The Times' investigative reporter Paul Pringle will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion of the indictment of Tyrone Freeman, once considered a rising star in the national labor movement and former head of California's biggest union local.

The chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Freeman was indicted on federal charges of stealing from workers to enrich himself — even allegedly billing the union for costs related to his Hawaiian wedding. The 15-count indictment, which also contains allegations that he violated tax laws and gave false information to a mortgage lender, carries combined maximum prison sentences of more than 200 years.

The charges resulted from a nearly four-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, FBI and Internal Revenue Service that grew out of a series of Times reports on Freeman's financial dealings as president of the Service Employees International Union, Local 6434. The ensuing scandal cost Freeman his job and spread through the SEIU, leading to the ouster of several other California officials as well as the president of the union's biggest Michigan local.

Citing records and interviews, The Times reported that Freeman funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of his union members' hard-earned dues, and money from a related charity, to his relatives. He also spent lavish sums on a Four Seasons Resort golf tournament, expensive restaurants and a Beverly Hills cigar club.