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EMBEZZLEMENT?!

Union Prexy Investigated By the Police

By THOMAS E. SEWARD Special to the Chronicle

City police are investigating allegations of embezzlement made against the longtime president of a union that represents Oklahoma City municipal employees.
The other day, polices earched for evidence at the headquarters of Local 2406 of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees office. Officers reported seizing four computers and an external hard drive as well as boxes of financial records, credit card statements and miscellaneous documents during the search.
The union president, William Dale Bryles, 53, of Oklahoma City declined Wednesday to comment about the search or the allegations against him.
“I can’t say anything about it,” Mr. Bryles told a reporter inside the AFSCME offices, 3400 S. Western Ave. in Oklahoma City. “I’m legally represented. You know how that goes. …My lawyer has told me not to say anything.”
Mike Moore, the attorney for Local 2406 and the Local 2406 employees, said later by phone, “We’re not aware of any misuse of union funds, at all, at this point.”
No arrests have been made.
The embezzlement investigation is being done by a sex crimes detective with the Oklahoma City Police Department. The detective, Clint Dellinger, explained in a request for a search warrant that the embezzlement allegations came up while he was investigating sexual assault accusations made against Mr. Bryles.
“During the course of these investigations several witnesses independently alleged Mr. Bryles was embezzling money from the union,” Dellinger wrote in an affidavit. “Two witnesses alleged Mr. Bryles used the union’s Lowe’s credit card to purchase a refrigerator for his home. In addition, witnesses said Mr. Bryles would cash checks by forging the signature of the former vice president, Jimmy Tabb.
“Witnesses said they started hiding the checkbook from Mr. Bryles. He resorted to cash withdrawals from the union account,” the detective also wrote.
“Bank records appear to confirm allegations of embezzlement by Mr. Bryles. There are multiple checks cashed by Mr. Bryles that appear to have a different signature than Tabb’s signature card.”
Mr. Bryles is paid by the city for his work as the union liaison. He currently makes $73,330 a year from the city, city records show.
Mr. Bryles has had financial problems in recent years and has filed for relief in bankruptcy court several times, federal records show. The latest time was in 2010.
Mr. Bryles has been accused of rape three times--in 1999, 2013 and 2015, according to police and court records. He has never been charged, though, with a sexual offense.
Oklahoma County’s top sex crimes prosecutor recently met with the police detective about the sexual assault investigations involving Mr. Bryles. The assistant district attorney decided not to file any charges but could reconsider if further information is found.
Making the accusation last year was a former union secretary, who said she was drugged and raped in 2005. She said she called police last September after getting counseling and finally telling her family. She also filed in November for a victim protective order against Mr. Bryles.
A judge did grant her an emergency order last year. A hearing on whether the order should remain in effect has been postponed until May because of the police investigation into her accusation, records show.

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