A bizarre battle about the union representing city correction officers has turned ugly.
Our Reuven Blau reports:
A Manhattan judge ruled Wednesday that a splinter group must stop pretending to be in charge of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.
Longtime COBA president Norman Seabrook (pictured right) hailed the decision: “Somebody can say that they are the President of the United States but that doesn’t make it true,” he said.
The splinter group is led by Chandra LaSonde (pictured below), the union’s former benefits director. She was kicked out after she was charged with submitting a bogus life insurance claim.
While she was later acquitted of criminal charges, the department fired her after she failed to testify at an internal disciplinary hearing regarding the matter.
That has not stopped her from asserting she now controls the union.
A flyer floating around Rikers Island says that at a Jan. 18 special meeting, Seabrook and the union’s entire executive board were found guilty of misconduct for “retaliation against their own membership and misappropriation of funds.”
The note continues, “The President’s seat was filled by the only remaining elected board member, Chandra LaSonde.” It goes on to list the other new board members.
State Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez ordered the group to stop from claiming control of the 7,759 member union until the matter is worked out in further court proceedings.
“Obviously, I’m very pleased that Judge Mendez responsibly ordered that this fringe group led by a former correction officer must immediately stop their campaign of deception,” Seabrook said shortly after the decision was issued.
The city’s Office of Labor Relations has also sent a letter to the Correction Department asserting that Seabrook and his board are currently the only group certified to negotiate contract and other issues with the city.
Seabrook has led the politically influential union for the past 17 years. The next election for union officers is scheduled this May.
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