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Michigan union official caught in scandal

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The head of a Service Employees International Union local in Michigan has taken a leave of absence following reports of his involvement in a California scandal.

The Los Angeles Times reported the union's Los Angeles local paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies owned by chapter President Tyler Freeman's wife and mother-in-law and also spent a lot of money at luxury venues such as the Four Seasons Resort and Morton's Steak House.

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Freeman, who resigned a week ago, had set up a corporation to help SEIU members find affordable housing, the Times said. The corporation, which failed to win non-profit status in California, operated out of a house owned by Michigan local President Rickman Jackson, who had been chief of staff of the SEIU chapter in Los Angeles.

"We will not tolerate any action by any leader that harms the interests of our membership," national union President Andy Stern said Monday.

Both men were named to their posts by Stern.

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