Steelworkers official-embezzler gets wrist-slap

"I’m sorry" is what a former local union president told a federal judge before his sentencing on embezzlement charges.

In U.S. District Court, the judge talked about the seriousness of violating the public trust for any president of a bank, a corporation, or in this case, a steelworkers union. We’re talking about siphoning off more than $13,000 in union money over about three years.

From 1999 to 2006, Terry Howell was president of a union representing about 300 workers at the Marathon Catlettsburg Refinery.

Court records show Howell used a union credit card for personal vacations, rental cars, gas, auto repairs and more. Union leaders sent the judge letters talking about Howell’s history of hard work and good leadership.

Those union leaders in court refused to make any comment. The judge noted that Howell has paid back more than $11,000 out of the $13,000 he embezzled. Then he sentenced Terry Howell to three years probation.

After the sentencing, a reluctant Mr. Howell said his message for the union rank and file.

"The rank and file already have an answer,” Howell said.

What about the public trust?

“I think you can see the outcome is clear," Howell said.

Terry Howell's probation includes six months of home confinement. He can only go to his job at the refinery and back, maybe to church or the doctor with permission.

He still has nearly $2,000 to pay back and a $2,000 fine. Remember, the judge could have sentenced Howell to a year in prison on his plea agreement, but he didn't.


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