Michelle Malkin
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Stern's handpicked flunky also created a nonprofit training shop called the "Homecare Workers Training Center" -- ostensibly to provide educational opportunities for nurses. In practice, the nonprofit served as a conduit to subsidize a childcare business operated by Freeman's mother-in-law. Freeman's local also paid another $106,000 to Hollywood talent agency William Morris for "advice and counsel."

SEIU's top officials were warned of Freeman's plundering six years before the paper blew the whistle. After dragging its feet and being forced to act to quell public embarrassment over the Times investigations, SEIU finally threw Freeman under the bus. He rebounded with a new career as a Los Angeles sports agent.

Rickman Jackson, another Stern administration protege and former chief of staff to Freeman, headed Michigan's largest SEIU chapter before being "reassigned" for three years to a staff organizing job after the revelation of financial shenanigans tied back to Local 6434. While collecting a six-figure annual salary in Michigan, Jackson was drawing a second salary in California and accepted $33,500 in housing payments on a residence listed as the business address of Freeman's bogus nonprofit housing corporation.

Another Stern administration protege, Annelle Grajeda, rose to power after Stern installed her as president of the 80,000-member Local 721 in Los Angeles. She ascended to positions on the union's state council and international executive board. Like Freeman and Jackson, Grajeda had been voted onto Stern's official administration at the SEIU convention in 2008.

Whistleblowers detailed how Grajeda's ex-boyfriend, SEIU official Alejandro Stephens, collected multiple salaries and consultant fees from the union while also pocketing a salary as a Los Angeles County health services employee. Grajeda arranged for her ex-lover to get an eight-month leave of absence from the job. He was fired after he refused to return to work.

Grajeda quit her California posts after catching public flak and found a new job -- as special assistant to SEIU secretary-treasurer (and Obama stimulus panel appointee) Anna Burger in Washington, D.C. Grajeda now oversees efforts to "partner with the Obama administration" to secure more public funds for SEIU projects involving infrastructure and core public services, including care for the elderly, health care, education and social services.

More recently, San Diego SEIU Local 221 came under fire last month for squandering dues on a cozy $107,000 severance package and consultancy deal for Stern's former appointee Sharon Frances-Moore.

Freeman, Jackson, Grajeda and Moore were all groomed by Stern and personally appointed by him to the posts they exploited. Like Obama, Stern has managed to pass the buck while pretending it stopped at his desk. These fiscal responsibility fraudsters now back a massive expansion of government's role in health care that they promise will rein in costs and root out fraud. Insert laugh track here.

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Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

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