Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Trusted Leader Charged With A Huge Theft

by Gary Snyder

Elba Esther Gordillo, the most powerful woman in Mexico was arrested on suspicion of embezzling $200 million in union funds for her personal use, including plastic surgery, multimillion-dollar spending sprees at luxury department stores and those seaside mansions near San Diego. She loved to flaunt luxury. Mexican prosecutors said her web of financial subterfuge, filtered through intermediaries and American and Swiss banks, was an act of organized crime. 

According to Mexican Assistant Attorney General Alfredo Castillo, Gordillo set up bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Castillo said that in one case they transferred $1 million to a Swiss account for a company owned by Gordillo's mother. Those funds were then used to buy a million-dollar house in the island of Coronado in San Diego.

The union has exerted so much influence so thoroughly that the government is not certain how many teachers there are — the union does the hiring, with jobs passed among family members like heirlooms — or even how many schools it has because they, too, are essentially run by the union. 

Her downfall, a shock to a nation accustomed to powerful figures untouched by the law, amounted to a bold statement by the new government that could open the way to weakening the vice grip of the 1.5 million-member teachers union, the largest in Latin America.  (NYT)

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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