Perhaps you have seen the story about the United Auto Workers-owned golf course in northern Michigan and the controversy about the value of its property and tax history. Well, local blogger Chetly Zarko has dug even deeper to try to figure out why the facility’s reported Pension Fund expenses are so high:
The only explanation in my mind for this kind of pension fund investment is that the pension contributions are for SOMEONE ELSE other than the workers at the hotel. Just who might be receiving the long-term benefit of those contributions? It’s not big enough to pay the pension debt of any serious number of rank-and-file union members – but it is big enough to sauce up a few individual’s or union leadership. Or perhaps the UAW is using multiple vehicles like this one to cover larger pension fund problems.
But this means alot of things – including that the IRS is getting an artificially boosted “loss” and that real tax evasion may be occurring (of course, the union might have another explanation, but this is tough to explain).
Very interesting and logical speculation on Chetly’s part. It also kind of meshes with this sort of shenanigans.
As it is, union members and the general public don’t have enough information to get to the bottom of this story. The U.S. Department of Labor’s union financial disclosure reports (including the LM-2) – only around for the past few years – have been a big help in uncovering pieces of the story like the UAW golf course.
But as the Wall Street Journal reported, the incoming Obama administration and his new Labor Secretary Hilda Solis look to be putting the kibosh on union transparency. Corrupt labor officials will have less to worry about, and for the rest of us – well, at best, ignorance may be bliss.
So maybe Chetly’s analysis will help to trigger an even more thorough investigation – before it may be too late.