Black Alaskans have elected as the new president of the Anchorage NAACP a convict who used his previous role as president of a government employees union to embezzle from that group.
Kevin McGee “is a man who has stolen from the very people he was supposed to represent. He used his position to travel first class, stay at 5-star hotels, buy nice suits and live a life he otherwise could not afford,” the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union told the judge in a victim impact statement at McGee’s June 2010 sentencing.
He “is nothing more than an opportunistic thief who has shown no remorse” and “doesn’t feel compelled to follow” the law, the union said. “McGee left this organization in a financial mess… there was no checking ledger, bank statements were not even opened.”
Yet in November 2016, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Anchorage chapter members chose McGee as their president, saying he would fight for “criminal justice reform” and that “following the apparent election of Donald Trump, Alaskans’ civil rights are at greater risk than at any point in recent memory.”
The union said McGee is “very quick to judge others” but “proudly flaunted” his own misconduct. It said it hopes others “will see what kind of a man he is.”
McGee was kicked out of AFGE “for serious misconduct, incompetence, negligence, and violations of AFGE Constitution.” As president of the AFGE local for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees, he drew a taxpayer-funded check despite working exclusively on union matters, under a policy called official time.
On February 2, 2010, then-national president John Gage suspended Mr. McGee from his union positions–which also included a national position dealing with affirmative action–for “gross neglect of duty,” malfeasance, and embezzlement.
The union said McGee then “failed to inform VA management, therefore he had no union position and performed no VA job. Essentially, he came to work, sat in his private office, had no job and was still paid his regular salary. Several months went by before the VA learned of his suspension and placed him in a job.”
In addition to stealing money by getting reimbursed twice for expenses, he “engaged in gross neglect of duty constituting misfeasance or malfeasance as an officer” and by “committing acts of mismanagement by expending Local funds not authorized by the membership approved budget.”
He “failed to seek membership authorization for additional funds when budget category allocations were exhausted. This gross misconduct, whether through incompetence or negligence, resulted in budget overruns.”
He also “failed to assure the AFGE Local 3028 IRS reports for tax year 2005 were timely submitted.”
Aside from the crimes, union members found McGee uninterested in helping them. “I feel that dealing with the ‘union’ on the leave restriction issue has cost me far more harm than good…. waiting over four months for a grievance that never actually went through. Yes Kevin, I feel I have been screwed,” one wrote to him.
Federal prosecutors charged him with four counts of fraud, including submitting “to the Department of Veterans Affairs a travel voucher knowing that the form contained a false representation seeking reimbursement for costs that he had not incurred” and “to the United States Department of Labor, an LM-3 financial disclosure form” under-reporting the money he had been paid.
The union said the official charges “barely scratch the surface of the misappropriation and blatant theft.”
McGee was unrepentant. Although he had no hope of regaining his position as local president, the day before he pleaded guilty he tried to withdraw his resignation as affirmative action coordinator. The law prohibits people who have been convicted of financial crimes from serving as union officers.
Augusta Thomas, national vice president for women and fair practices, responded that “you sought to withdraw your resignation as 11th District National Fair Practices Affirmative Action Coordinator… it is too late for you to withdraw your resignation.”
On February 26, he pleaded guilty, and on June 24, 2010, the Department of Justice announced that he was sentenced to 18 months of probation, 30 days home confinement and restitution for “making a false representation in a federal form to cover his receipt of double reimbursement.”
“Judge Burgess stated that it was an abuse of trust for McGee, the union president, to take the unauthorized funds and then cover up the conduct,” it said.
Asked whether he told the voting membership of the NAACP about his past when campaigning, McGee told the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group “No. Actually, I attempted to at a presidential forum, but another individual cut me off.”
[dcquiz] He said he has recused himself from dealing with money. “As president, I said I don’t want access to the treasury. If necessary I want to only countersign a check.”
He also said what he did wasn’t that bad compared to what other union officials have done nationwide. “You’re trying to tear me down… The alleged severity wasn’t as severe as it was.”
Asked what his selection does for the reputation of his chapter, McGee said: “I look at it from the standpoint of is there any one of us who’s perfect?”
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