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Published: Tuesday, 1/20/2009

Former union employee sentenced to probation


A one-time trusted employee of Laborer's Union Local 500 appeared in U.S. District Court in Toledo Tuesday to be sentenced for embezzling thousands of dollars.

Thomas Leonard of 2731 Glendale Ave. was sentenced to one year probation for using a union credit card to pay for visits to strip clubs in 2004. Judge David Katz said that restitution was not a part of the sentence because Leonard had already paid back the nearly $4,400 he was convicted of taking.

Leonard declined to comment after the sentencing hearing.

His attorney, Jerry Phillips, said that Leonard accepted responsibility for his actions soon after the investigation into his actions began. He added that his client reimbursed the union in November, 2005, well before criminal charges were filed against him by the U.S. Attorney's office.

Leonard, who was formerly employed as the construction union's recording secretary, pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to one count of labor union embezzlement.

Also charged for similar actions was Steven Thomas, the former business manager, who faces two counts of labor union embezzlement.

Mr. Thomas will go to trial May 15 before Judge Jack Zouhary in federal court. He is accused of using the union's credit card to pay for $17,500 worth of expenses at the strip clubs between December, 2003, and December, 2004.

Additionally, Mr. Thomas is accused of receiving cash advancements for travel between September, 2001, and October, 2005, that equaled about $11,000, but "for which he did not provide receipts or for which he did not incur legitimate union expense."

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