I was cleaning out the file cabinet this morning and came across some old source material, including three memos from 2003 that provided the basis of this EIA story in the wake of the FBI raid on the headquarters of the United Teachers of Dade on April 29, 2003.
You may recall that UTD president Pat Tornillo was arrested and charged with spending more than $650,000 of union dues on himself – buying things like luxury cruises and python-print pajamas. He reached a plea deal on mail fraud and tax evasion in exchange for a shorter prison term. Tornillo died in 2007.
The Tornillo memo to Florida Education Association chief of staff Aaron Wallace, written a mere 8 days prior to the FBI raid and cc’ed to every high-ranking officer in FEA, AFT and NEA, is defiant in tone and heavy with rationalization. Tornillo blames rival organizations, the media, district administrators and the union’s health care plan for his local’s financial difficulties, while claiming “UTD is solvent and has substantial reserves.”
Twelve years later, UTD is still $3.6 million in dues arrearage to FEA and AFT, and has a $2.4 million loan outstanding from AFT for operating expenses.