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NE Ohio AFL-CIO leader removed after allegations of improper credit card use

North Shore Federation of Labor executive secretary Dan O'Malley talks with media after the AFL-CIO endorsed Dennis Kucinich for Cleveland mayor in 2021.
Nick Castele
Ideastream Public Media
North Shore Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Dan O'Malley talks with media after the AFL-CIO endorsed Dennis Kucinich for Cleveland mayor in 2021.

The head of the largest labor organization in Northeast Ohio has been dismissed after he was accused of improper credit card expenditures.

The executive board of the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor said in a statement Tuesday that Dan O’Malley has been removed as the executive secretary of the organization.

The board, in the statement, said a due process hearing was held last month on O’Malley’s “use of the federation’s credit card and reimbursement practices.” The Board found him “guilty of four of the six charges” he faced under the organization’s rules and procedures, and voted to remove him from office.

“This was a very difficult decision on the part of our Board, but after deep review and discussion we determined that our duty to our members required this action,” executive board chair Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union, said in the prepared statement.

Ideastream Public Media previously reported allegations that O’Malley had improperly spent at least several thousand dollars using his company card on bar tabs, hotel stays and grocery bills. A source said the organization’s treasurer flagged the expenditures last year and that the questionable spending continued after that.

O’Malley denied those allegations Tuesday.

Every single expense that I had in my entire time was approved, and, including every single credit card statement, was presented and signed off on,” he said. “So, it’s obviously very disappointing.”

He said the North Shore AFL-CIO does not have a policy for credit card use or travel, which complicated the matter.

O’Malley said he was weighing whether he should appeal the decision. He’ll need to give the organization notice of that appeal within the week.

He thanked the labor leaders who still support him, noting the board members’ votes on the charges were not unanimous, nor was the vote to remove him from office.

Obrenski declined to respond to those assertions Tuesday.

“With a potential appeal pending, we cannot go into further detail regarding Mr. O’Malley,” she said.

The North Shore AFL-CIO Federation represents 146 local labor unions and 85,000 members in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties.

O’Malley had served as president of Lakewood City Council until resigning early last year to take a seat on the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.