A former American Airlines flight attendant is accused of stealing $400,000 from a union fund by misappropriating the funds for personal use. The theft was discovered during an audit and the company has launched its own investigation into how to handle the fallout.

The “american airlines no alcohol in coach” is a story about the former American Airlines Flight Attendants Union Head found to have misappropriated funds. The union leader was sentenced to six years in prison.

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The former head of the American Airlines Flight Attendants Union was discovered to have misappropriated funds.

on March 26, 2022 by Gary Leff

For misappropriating member dues, an arbitrator has prohibited former American Airlines flight attendants union boss Bob Ross from participating in any leadership position of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants for the rest of his life. From April 2016 until March 2018, Ross served as President of the union.

The complaint and arbitration decision contain shockingly egregious detail (.pdf). He was accused of, among other things,

  • charged $3600 in personal furnishings on the union credit card, as well as “thousands” in personal things like bedding and toilet paper.
  • While residing near union headquarters and not eligible to a vehicle, he invoiced the union $6200 for a rental automobile.
  • Even though the union was paying for his rental vehicle, he claimed mileage reimbursement.
  • “Thousands of dollars in unlawful meals on his APFA credit card” and “thousands for keeping an office he wasn’t allowed to” were charged to his APFA credit card.

Ross’ explanation for using the credit card for personal expenditures seems to be that (1) the spending were allowed (essentially, by his union subordinates) and (2) the persons who were complaining didn’t examine the credit card charges of other former union presidents (in effect, ‘everyone does it’).

For each credit card transaction, receipts were filed and verified by the relevant accounting and legal departments in accordance with procedure. When said officials transferred to DFW, plaintiff claimed they did not check any other administrations union credit card expenditures for comparable purchases, historical practice, or costs.

And he claims that no one can prove that the mileage reimbursements he received were for driving his rental car rather than his personal car, and that the union’s policy on meal reimbursements was unclear (“APFA also had no policy in place until 2021, for a National Officer in relation to one’s union credit card practice,” so more or less anything goes, though it appears that this position would entail IRS problems).

The conclusions of the arbitrator are devastating. As an example,

It seems that APFA used Defendant Ross’ APFA credit card to pay for Ross’ family vacation in the Grand Canyon. Defendant Ross should cover the expense of this trip, which includes food and lodging. Ross’s fiduciary obligation to the APFA membership has been violated. This is a breach of the Policy Manual as a whole.

The arbitrator determined that he received mileage and gas reimbursements on the same day, paid for personal meals using his union credit card on the same day he received meal per diems, and that the rental vehicle – which he paid to have upgraded to the luxury category – was in violation of union regulations. Ross accepted a relocation stipend (to move into a new house) and had the union lease him an apartment when he relocated to Dallas to become union President, even though he was only entitled to one or the other.

As a result, the arbitrator believes that Defendant Ross breached his fiduciary responsibility to the APFA membership and should be fined $8,106.13 for the expense of leasing the flat.

…The arbitrator finds that throughout this action, Defendant Ross has breached and abused his fiduciary duties assigned to him by the APFA membership by knowingly and willfully disregarding the terms of the APFA Policy Manual. Ross’s evidence was contradictory and evasive. Ross can no longer maintain a position of trust with the APFA since he misused his position of trust as well as his fiduciary duties to the APFA’s membership.

For its part, the union promised improvements. Prior to the pandemic, he believed there was a lot of infighting, but he didn’t stand out for flight attendants when the firm furloughed them during Covid. It’s understandable if they’ve experienced financial difficulties.

More From the Wing’s Perspective

A former American Airlines Flight Attendants Union head has been found to have misappropriated funds. The union is being investigated for the potential of a multi-million dollar theft. Reference: what not to pack in carry-on.

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