August 10, 2023, Harrisburg, Pa. – Corrections officers searching for the truth about their union’s finances have helped expose financial corruption within the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) that has led to criminal charges for two different union officials and major reforms within the union.
In July, former PSCOA president Jason Bloom was charged by state police with six felony counts of theft for allegedly using the union’s credit card for personal expenses totaling $8,286.
According to court filings by concerned corrections officers, PSCOA officials also spent members’ money on golf outings, NFL tickets, a $12,000 Rolex watch, iTunes purchases, and personal expenses totaling more than $200,000 on union credit cards.
Bloom’s charges and a union treasurer’s prior arrest and conviction for theft came after corrections officers Cory Yedlosky, Chris Taylor, and another officer launched a 2019 investigation into PSCOA Local SCI-Huntingdon’s finances. The officers uncovered thousands of dollars in financial transactions at the local union that violated financial procedures. But when they brought their findings to Bloom, then PSCOA’s president, he “blew off” the report and “put [it] in a drawer to collect dust,” according to subsequent court filings.
Yedlosky and Taylor resigned from PSCOA in disgust in 2019, and the Fairness Center then filed their lawsuit, Yedlosky v. PSCOA, to force the union to address their concerns. Weeks after the complaint was filed, state police arrested local union treasurer Bryan Peroni on felony theft and forgery charges for writing impermissible checks to himself and another union official amounting to nearly $30,000. Peroni pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced.
The lawsuit has also revealed a laundry list of highly questionable expenses at the statewide union, including:
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in unsubstantiated mileage reimbursements
- $60 shots and $3,000 bar tabs
- Tickets to Miami Dolphins games
- Thousands of dollars in Apple iTunes purchases
- A $12,000 Rolex watch
- Outings at PGA Tour-level golf courses
- Unapproved computer purchases
- Improper reimbursements for cell phones and internet
The PSCOA is also investigating $1.8 million missing from a trust fund that was created and administered by PSCOA officers, according to court filings.
Nathan McGrath, president and general counsel for the Fairness Center, released the following statement:
“Our clients filed their lawsuit to bring transparency and accountability to the corrections officers’ union. They exposed significant financial issues at the local and state unions, with two different union officials charged with serious crimes. Because their litigation spurred the union to reform its financial practices, our clients have already made enormous progress on their goal.”
Since the Fairness Center’s clients filed their lawsuit, the union has begun reforming its financial practices, including conducting trainings for local union treasurers and tightening credit card oversight. As a result, PSCOA has seen a substantial increase in its savings accounts in recent years. And because of this, the union, which represents some 10,000 employees in 23 state prisons, has lowered membership dues across the board.
“Our clients are continuing to press their case in court to recover their own union dues that they believe were misspent and to ensure the union no longer violates its obligation to look after the best interests of corrections employees,” McGrath said.
Yedlosky v. PSCOA is currently on appeal at the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Fairness Center attorneys are available for comment. Please contact Anna Kertland at email@example.com or 844.293.1001 to schedule an interview.
The Fairness Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm offering free legal services to those hurt by public-sector union officials. For more information visit www.FairnessCenter.org.