SBPEA

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 10/17/14, 5:08 PM PDT | Updated: 48 secs ago

San Bernardino County’s largest labor union filed a lawsuit Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court against its former general manager, alleging he embezzled or misappropriated more than $700,000 before he was fired in 2013.

The lawsuit was filed by the San Bernardino County Public Employees Association against its former general manager Bob Blough, two days after the union announced it had submitted its forensic audit to the District Attorney’s Office with a request to investigate for any possible criminal conduct. It alleges Blough falsified and altered union records to conceal his “misappropriation, conversion, and embezzlement of funds.”

The SBPEA represents 11,000 of the county’s 23,000 employees. It is a nonprofit labor union and not a county agency or department.

Blough could not be reached for comment Friday.

As SBPEA’s general manager, Blough had access to the union’s safe and was responsible for making deposits into the union’s bank account. He also had access to union credit cards, according to the lawsuit.

An audit conducted in 2013 by auditors hired by the union revealed a large discrepancy in the amount of SBPEA’s recorded cash receipts and the amount of deposits made. The number of cash receipts far exceeded the amount of deposits made at the bank, according to the lawsuit.

Upon request, Blough, according to the lawsuit, reluctantly gave the keys to the safe to the auditor, who found about $40,000 in cash inside. It was far less than the amount of cash the union received that was not deposited into its bank account.

Blough was immediately placed on administrative leave, then fired on Aug. 13, 2013. His assistant, Jeannie Marquez, was also fired, according to the lawsuit.

Following Blough’s termination, the union retained the same auditor to conduct a forensic audit for the period July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013. It revealed $595,444.82 in missing cash never deposited into the union’s bank account nor into its safe, according to the suit. The audit also revealed numerous charges on SBPEA credit cards totaling $108,345.14 that appeared to be for Blough’s own personal expenses, according to the lawsuit.

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