Lawyer: LA Union Leader Denies Theft Charges

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawyer for a prominent Los Angeles union official and his wife says allegations of grand theft against the couple are unfounded.

Josif Kahraman, the head of the Engineers and Architects Association, and his wife, Ani, were arrested this week following a report of a theft at the union’s office.

Police say the couple was accused by other union members of taking a laptop computer.

Attorney Lara Yeretsian said Saturday that the Kahramans deny any wrongdoing. Yeretsian says the couple would not be speaking directly to the press.

On Thursday, the union announced that Kahraman went on “indefinite leave” and two labor representatives went on temporary leave. Three members of the governing board were also suspended on allegations of misconduct related to the theft.

The union, LA’s largest, represents about 5,000 city employees.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Saber 1

    Lazy, worthless city unions. If they don’t steal their salary by not doing their jobs, they’ll steal you blind. Two down and many more to go.

  • James

    Saber 1, I defy you to spend one week in front of my high-school students; then let’s see if you think we teachers (who happen to be members of United Teachers Los Angeles) aren’t doing our jobs. Unions aren’t perfect, and there are abuses, but they pale in comparison to the abuses that take place at private corporations. Enron employees weren’t unionized; what’s your solution to corporate malfeasance? What? You don’t have a solution to corporate crime and abuses? I didn’t think so. Go back to your Saturday-morning cartoons and leave the “comment” section to the adults.

    • Joe III

      If you have it so tough why don’t you enter into another profession? There is also a BIG differece between private sector unions and gov’t employee unions.
      In the PS the union is bargaining with or against the employer where no tax dollars are at stake. With gov’t unions you are negotiating with a political hack that is on your side (favors and promises) and not the tax payers. So who is watching out for our interests? Why don’t we have the right to voice our opinion(s) on what you all earn? After all, we do pay your salaries, even if we have to do without.

      • James

        Every job has its difficulties, Joe III, and for the moment, my job as a high-school English teacher is more rewarding than frustrating. Overall, I don’t disagree with your arguments against public-sector unions; I’ve watched billions of dollars go into school construction and upgrades when I’m sure the schools could have been built or fixed with one fifth of the $$, and I realize that public officials often approve such school-construction spending as a favor to building-trades unions such as the IBEW or UA. However, keep in mind that the current anti-union sentiment is playing into the hands of the business elites in this country, who have done a brilliant job in convincing middle-class Americans to vote against their own class interests. When this anti-public-union sentiment reaches its peak and public workers have their rights and benefits chipped away, the rich business titans will just choose their next target. Meanwhile, the Republicans get to sit back and watch the middle class take away their own rights.

      • Joe III

        James, James, James, “Voting against their own class!?!? What rights are you refering to that are being chipped away? Protection for all employees are still in effect not matter what type of bargaining scenario that is used. Under your way of thinking, you should also protest against the Federal gov’t because the Fed employees DO NOT have collective bargaining for pay and benefits. Plus the last time I had spoken to my mail carrier she didn’t appear to be working under any sweat shop conditions or eating dog food. Why are they not screaming that by them having to contribute 28% for their health coverage that this is completely outrageous? One very important point must be made about how politics (Democrats) and the unions have a great scam going on. The state hires union workers in which they pay dues, then the dues end back into the Dem. coffers and in turn grant sweetheat agreements (RE.the last prison guard contract) and the cycle continues on and on in a vicious circle. No my friend, If anyones’ rights have been impinged upon, it’s the tax payers.

      • Ron

        Joe lll, you are right on point, with your comment about the all too cozy relationship between the Democrats and the unions, their sweetheart deals/scams and that we taxpayers are the ones that are having OUR rights eroded.

        And James, the more I read your comments, it appears that you may have some undying loyalties to the union and perhaps you are even a union rep.

    • Saber 1

      If you were any kind of a man and had some stones, you would take control of your class and send them to the office or get them suspended. Your a poor excuse for a teacher. That is why I send my son to a PRIVATE SCHOOL, where there are twenty two students in the class and the teachers have control of their class.

      • Saber 1

        James, Let’s compare annual salaries. I may misspell some words here and there, but I don’t hide behind a WORTHLESS UNION, I take responsibility for my own actions. I think spelled everything correctly. Whats funny is, that is all you could find wrong. Happy Mothers day.

      • James

        Saber 1, regarding your comment “Let’s compare annual salaries,” it’s quite possible that you earn more money than me; as a public-school teacher, I don’t judge my worth as a human being solely by money. Perhaps you earn more money than me. Narco traffickers also earn more money than me; so does Charlie Sheen. Men who judge their worth in purely financial terms tend to be the shallowest, emptiest people. Furthermore, your comment simply helps prove my point: Despite my membership in my teacher’s union, I’m far from wealthy, financially-speaking. Again, Saber 1, I strongly recommend that you go back to watching cartoons or your Playstation 2 and leave the comment section to the intelligent adults.

      • James

        Saber 1, who said that I didn’t have control of my class? Did I ever imply — even once — that I didn’t have control over my classroom? I sympathize with you on one point, though: You clearly didn’t receive a good education if you’re mistaking “your” with “you’re.” Keep rattling your saber, Saber 1. You only succeed in making a fool of yourself (or, as you’d probably write, “you’reself”). :)

      • Saber 1

        James, does BM mean anything to you?

    • Ron

      James, I know how hard teachers jobs are, my son has a Political Science degree and had a few long term substitute positions in Orange County. He told me of some of the struggles that high and middle school teachers have. He has not been able to get a full time job, in these recessionary times.

      Teachers deserve praise for the sometimes thankless jobs they do. So THANK YOU James and all your fellow teachers, for the job you do.

      However; I do not agree that we should overlook the abuses by the unions. These recently reported abuses, will most likely prove to be only the tip of the iceberg.

      Pension deficits for NON-TEACHER UNIONS, are now finally getting the critical attention, that they deserve.

      The private corporation crime and abuses are HUGE(i.e. Enron, etc.), but they have not directly impacted the taxpayer, like the above mentioned NON-TEACHER UNION’S pensions.

      • GuyV

        Enron is gone. Worldcom is gone, Tyco is a shell, and many corporate thugs are serving or have served hard time. Public employee unions and their bought politicians steal taxpayers blind under the protection of law. Public unions compete only among each other to see who can take the most for the least effor over the shortes period.

  • StanleyA

    I also think employees would work harder without the backing of a union.

    • Barbara S

      What makes you think that the union employees don’t work hard? The unions were never put in place to lower the work ethic, but to protect the rights of the individual. You can fire a union employee if they do not do their jobs.

      Unions helped form the child labor laws and dismantle the sweatshops of the early 1900’s, they helped establish safety regulations to protect the factory worker from death and dismemberment, they helped established the middle class with a fair working wage.

      All corporations, unions, committees of more than three people have problems with lack of commitment, ethics, etc, but just like in society for the most part – they are good and get the job done. It is not all good or all bad.

      It is just, what we have, and until someone comes up with better system, we, as a society need to work harder and participate more so that they know we are watching them and expect nothing but the best from them.

      People tend to behave better when they know they are being watched. No one ever took a cookie from the cookie jar when mom was in the kitchen.

      • Ron

        Your history of unions is just that, HISTORY. They have morphed into a monster, that monopolizes most industries, slows down/produces an inferior product and exists only to collect union dues and push their own agendas.

  • LA Union Leader Arrested On Suspicion Of Theft | Los Angeles for Me

    […] The executive director of Los Angeles’ largest union has been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and three members of the governing board have been suspended on allegations of misconduct. More from:… […]

  • Robyn

    There’s probably more to this story than is being reported. Unions are NECESSARY to protect the rights of the workers.

    • c

      i Agree. Unions make up the middle class. Without unions, the poverty population would be higher. The CEO’s, CFO’s, and all top management make 10’s of millions a year. The employees are lucky to get a 2% cost of living raise. The unions help get some of that millions to the employees. No single person needs to make $50 million a year while others in the same company make only minimum wage.

      • Joe III

        You two still do not get it!!! #1, workers are who the communist party “make” the serfs perform duties or acts. For c, I don’t care how much a CEO makes, it is the free market that pays them vs the threats from the gov’t to us tax payers to pay more or else. Using your logic, why don’t you complain to the athletic unions for how much ball players make and have them share their earnings with the fans that have to pay outragious ticket prices? Plus, where does it say that you are gauranteed a job for life with continual increases no matter what the financial condition is for your employers (tax payers). THis state like most others are B-R-O-K-E. GOT IT!!!

  • no more!

    Unions are a dinosaur from the past,
    There is nolonger a need for unions, we have labor laws inplace to protec the employee.

    All they stand for now is politacal gain at the employees expence. Not what I would call good representation!

  • Hey James

    Teachers are idiots hiding behind the kids. I think the kids know by now that teachers are only out for themselves. Teachers actually try to convince the public that it is not about the money and all about the kids.

    • James

      I’m sorry, Hey James, that your education was inferior, but I think you’re overgeneralizing. I’m not arguing that all teachers are excellent, but I don’t agree that dismantling the unions will lead to a stronger teaching force.

      Regarding teachers’ pensions, 8% of every single paycheck goes to my State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS) pension account; the payout after 25 or 30 years is not particularly generous. I take plenty of work home with me, and I’m not compensated for it. For example, whenever my students’ essays are due (every two or three weeks, on average), I take them home to correct them. Each essay takes roughly ten minutes to correct and grade; If I have around 140 students and 120 students turn in their essays, then 10 minutes x 120 students = around 1200 minutes (i.e., close to 20 hours) to grade each essay. I have a one-hour conference period, if I’m not asked to sit in a meeting or substitute for another teacher, so subtract 5 hours from that total and I’m still left with 15 unpaid hours per essay. Speaking of which, I’d better stop procrastinating now and get back to work grading essays so that I can go out tonight.

    • john chen

      obviously you didn’t study Hey James and probably barely managed to finish your GED. Same thing will probably already happen with you kids.. if it hasn’t already

      • Char Siu


  • Alice Ramirez

    Unions now exist to protect the mediocre and NOT reward excellence. Collectivism always equals mediocrity. As for teachers’ unions, I really wonder what they are teaching, considering the amazing ignorance of American history, geography and government by twenty-somethings, most of whom graduated from public schools. I suspect that what the union teachers teach as “history” is really left-leaning anti-mainstream American propaganda.

    • Joe III

      The main problem with “education” is that the children are taught what to think , not how to think. Plus it’s indoctrination not. education. The state teaches statism so the students “learn” that the state is good, collectivism is good, be part of a group (unions) that has been victimized then you wont have to be an individual or be accountable for your actions and you will also have an endless number of people to blame (employeer(s), the rich, et al) when you cannot make it in life.; then in comes the nanny state to the rescue to fill your hand with stolen money (tax payers) The moral of the story is, when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you will always get Pauls’ vote.



  • POPP

    It’s beyond me why Anone would want to try teaching anything to those self-centered eotistic animals anyway. Therer is No job satisfaction and the money that it costs to educate a “Teacher” is notrewarded well enough to merit the investment of time and money.
    Besides that, They are under Cocnstant scrutiny by their Superiors (The Board of Educatio) and the First One’s to be Sacraficed to the Unemployment at the Whim of the Rich politicions….

  • DAN


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  • Sam

    James, How do private sector corporations have anything in common with public sector teachers unions ? If you were paid for the product you produce you would indeed be broke. So don’t even go there with your union soundbites. And by the way the truth hurts.

    • James

      Sam, your argument would be sound if I were producing widgets or had control over my “product,” but unfortunately, I can’t control whether or not my students do their homework, come to class, or care about their own education. I’m not making excuses; I’m simply pointing out that the education of human beings is not a “product” that I produce. Furthermore, I’d like you to tell me what, exactly, I said that smacks of a “union soundbite.” I frequently disagree with my teachers’ union on many issues, but I still see the benefits of unions.

      • Saber 1

        again cry baby, report them, fail them or get them suspended for lack of work. Your weak just like your argument.

  • FN Cee

    Only one computer? … Wow, this just can’t be true … these thugs never steal just one of anything and never, ever under a million dollars …

  • Doug W.

    Unions no longer have a mission, except to protect the incompetent.

  • Timothy McGarry

    Remember those bumper stickers- “Live Better- Work Union” ? Remember how most of them were scratched of to read ” Live Better- Work ” ?

  • HooDatIS?

    sounds fishy
    the unions are dying because of corruption
    run for your lives

  • Barbara S

    You are correct, I only listed some of the historical moments that unions helped to shape. It is hard to list the things that have not yet happened. But in an age of electronic access, unions may still play a very important role.

    Remember when a white collar worker went to work from 9am to 5pm and then took two weeks off in the summer. Remember when companies would pay overtime if he had to work late or weekends in the office?

    Well, now with home computers that hook up to the office, and phones that can too, the same worked can “telecommute”. Which is great for the worker and the environment. Even better for the boss and the company, because now that same worker is available 24/7/365. With no overtime, and not even a break if they take a vacation.

    Who is going to stand up for that worker? What challenges are still ahead of us?

    • Joe III

      Barbara…I’m self employed, that looks like my work schedule. If a person is “white collar” they are not a worker but a member of management. In any case there are provisions from that happening unless that person allows it or is an illegal alien.

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