LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  The local union representing about 3,600 rank-and-file workers at GE Appliance Park has been temporarily seized by its parent union because of what a national leader calls “evidence of financial irresponsibility and potential malfeasance.”

The Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America decided March 6 to place the Louisville local, IUE-CWA Local 83-761, into “temporary trusteeship,” according to a March 12 letter from Jim Clark, president of the Dayton, Ohio-based IUE-CWA.

A trustee has been appointed to manage the operations of the local union for “a hopefully short period of time,” Clark told Louisville union members in the March 12 letter, a copy of which was obtained by WDRB News.

Brian Caudill, the new president of Local 761, warned in December of a takeover by the national union, saying in a letter to members that financial irregularities under previous president Dana Crittendon had put the local “under the microscope.”

Caudill was part of new slate of local union leaders elected last fall. Crittendon, who did not run for re-election after his three-year term ended, has called the new regime’s claims of financial problems overblown.

Among other problems, Local 761 spent nearly $750,000 on “lost time” – or the wages of workers who are on leave from the company for union business – in the last fiscal year under Crittendon, “much of it paid without membership approval or knowledge,” Clark wrote in the March 12 letter.

The letter does not say how much “lost time” is appropriate amount for the union, which generates about $1 million a year in dues from workers who make dishwashers, washers and dryers and other products at the appliance factory.

Clark wrote that “further investigation” is being conducted into “significant ‘back payments’ that were made to officers and prior officers” without appropriate authorization. He said the U.S. Department of Labor may choose to do a “full financial audit” of Local 761.

“While that investigatory process is necessary, our goal is to focus on getting the Local on the right track going forward,” Clark wrote.

Neither Clark nor Caudill immediately returned calls for comment on Friday.  

Here is a copy of Clark’s letter:

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.