Firefighter Chapter Sues Its Own Union For Misappropriation Of Funds

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

IAFF (International Association of Firefighters) local chapter 825 is suing its union, UPFFA (Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut), for almost $100,000 for misappropriation of dues.

Local 825 alleges the UPFFA said the group owes them over $50,000, according to court documents The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained. They’re challenging this claim and seeking $96,000 in restitution.

“IAFF Local 825’s executive board unanimously voted to leave the UPFFA two years ago. But the UPFFA has charged them dues since then,” chapter lawyer Nathan McGrath told The DCNF in an email. “They even put Local 825 into collections. The UPFFA is illegally trying to extract money from local firefighters [who] they do not owe.”

The chapter was forced to seek a legal remedy in court after the union refused to honor their wish to be independent, McGrath said.

“UPFFA betrayed the trust of IAFF Local 825’s firefighters by charging them legislative-only dues but then spending their dues money on non-legislative items,” he continued. “About which IAFF Local 825 did not know or agree.”

Local 825 President and Battalion Chief Frank Ricci is disgusted with the state’s bureaucrats and fed up with the abuse he and his men have suffered, the chief said.

“We turned the other cheek for two years, and then we were forced to take legal action to protect our members after the UPFFA placed us into collections for back dues that we do not owe,” Ricci told TheDCNF.

“New Haven Fire Fighters will not allow the UPFFA to pick our pockets and is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that we do not owe any debt,” he continued. “We are also seeking restitution of $96,000 for their breach in fiduciary duty by misappropriating our dues. We risk injury and our lives to fight fires for the community. We shouldn’t also have to fight state union bureaucrats.”

Some of Ricci’s members were strong armed by RGS, the collection agency, while they attempted to collect the disputed debt, the chief claimed.

“The collection agency and the UPFFA have implemented bully tactics to attempt to collect a debt we do not owe,” he  added. “This action includes harassing phone calls to my family and mother’s house leading her to believe I was being arrested.”

Ricci was told his chapter’s dues would be used to help prop up other firefighter unions around the state and would be also be used to cover “expenditures and activities related to collective bargaining,” the chief said.

Neither the president of UPFFA, Pete Carozza, nor RGS returned The DCNF’s request for comment.

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