A onetime rising star in national labor circles who headed California’s biggest union local was convicted Monday on federal charges that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from his low-income members.
Tyrone Freeman, who represented about 190,000 homecare workers as a leader of the Service Employees International Union, was found guilty on 14 counts after a 10-day trial in Los Angeles.
Jurors deliberated two and a half days before returning their verdict. The trial followed a nearly four-year investigation triggered by a series of Times reports on Freeman’s financial practices.
“This was a case about abuse and betrayal,” U.S. Atty. André Birotte Jr. said in a statement after the verdict. “Freeman abused his position as leader of the SEIU, and he betrayed the hardworking people whose interests he was supposed to represent.”
Freeman, 43, faces a maximum of more than 180 years in prison when he returns to court for sentencing in April. His attorneys declined to comment.
Monday’s verdict marks the end of a steep fall from grace for a man groomed for a major role in the SEIU, the 2-million-member labor juggernaut that is a dominant force in worker organizing campaigns and Democratic elections from coast to coast.