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Former corrections officers’ union officials charged with theft of union funds

Last month, five former union officials at the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) were charged with theft after using union credit cards for their personal expenses. Local media reported that former PSCOA presidents Jason Bloom, Roy Pinto, and Larry Blackwell, former executive vice president Tim Walsh, and former regional vice president Robert Storm misused union credit cards between 2015 and 2019, where they spent thousands of dollars on iTunes purchases, winery and vineyard expenses, and “a string of expenses at luxury venues in Las Vegas.” 

Back in 2019, corrections officers and then PSCOA members, Cory Yedlosky and Chris Taylor, initiated an investigation of the local union SCI Huntingdon’s finances, finding thousands of dollars in transactions that violated the union’s own financial procedures. However, then-PSCOA president Bloom “blew off” the allegations.  

Yedlosky and Taylor were dissatisfied with the union’s handling of their investigation and chose to resign their union membership as a result. Then, in 2020 they filed a lawsuit against the union. A month later, state police arrested former SCI Huntingdon treasurer Bryan Peroni for writing checks from the union’s accounts to himself and another union official, totaling nearly $30,000.  

The officers’ lawsuit, Yedlosky v. PSCOA, ultimately led Pennsylvania state police to file charges against Bloom and four other union officials last month.   

Nathan McGrath, Fairness Center president and general counsel, praised the PSCOA members who filed the lawsuit in the name of transparency and accountability. “They exposed significant financial issues at the local and state unions,” McGrath said.  

He added, “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.”   

The case is currently being appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.  

The charges facing the former union officials are not the only financial woes PSCOA has faced the last few years. According to court filings, an internal union audit found $200,000 in suspicious credit card transactions.  

PSCOA is also currently investigating the disappearance of $1.8 million from a trust fund set up by union officials. 

Spencer Irvine

Spencer Irvine is Senior Writer & Researcher at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Spencer previously worked in state government, in communications for a non-profit advocacy organization, and held various administrative and communications roles at a media analysis organization. He has a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University. He lives in Arizona with his wife, is an avid history buff and enjoys touring historic sites.