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CUs Wary On Governor's Recall

SACAMENTO, Calif.-The credit union lobby is cautiously watching the petition initiative to recall embattled Gov. Gray Davis, who has worked closely with credit unions during his tenure.

Bob Arnould, chief lobbyist for the California CU League, said the league is concerned about the possible ramifications of the unprecedented recall because, "if you turn the administrative side of California's government upside-down, there is a risk."

Davis has supported several major credit union initiatives, including the 1999 repeal of the state's franchise tax on credit unions, and has appointed a credit union-friendly state supervisor from the league.

"Another governor would be an unknown," Arnould told The Credit Union Journal. "There is a potential for impact on all state-chartered credit unions and on all businesses that are connected to state government."

A voter referendum to recall Davis has been scheduled for Oct. 5, with a list of candidates lining up to replace him if the ouster bid succeeds.

Violent Outburst Ousts Robber

RIVERSIDE, Calif.-A 63-year-old convicted bank robber was excused from closing arguments in his trial for the 2001 armed robbery at Norton Credit Union after he tried to punch out the prosecutor.

Michael Sawkow, on trial with his partner-in-crime, 67-year-old John Honore, asked to be excluded from the proceedings after he followed up his attempted assault by cursing out and threatening the same prosecutor.

Sawkow is accused of five area bank robberies, including the heist at Norton Credit Union, which ended when police shot him when he pulled a gun on them after a high-speed chase.

Honore, who has lived with Sawkow for more than 20 years, is charged with being the getaway car driver in the credit union heist.

Each man served more than 20 years in prison for previous bank robberies and could spend the rest of their lives behind bars if convicted in the credit union hold-up.

Teller Admits To Robbery Ruse

DAYTON, Ohio-A teller who called in the June 24 robbery at Universal One CU inside Miami Valley Hospital admitted to police that she stole the $13,252 herself and hid the cash in a bathroom at the credit union for more than a week.

Erin LeMaster, of Fairborn, told hospital security she was robbed at 7:35 am and even gave police a detailed description of a robber, including a tattoo on his right forearm in old English letters.

LeMaster is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on charges of bank larceny and making fraudulent statements.

Police CU Chief Jailed For Stealing

HUNTINGTON, W.V.-The former manager of Huntington Policemen's Federal Credit Union was sentenced to more than three years in prison for an embezzlement scheme which drained more than $400,000 from the tiny credit union.

Shirley McClanahan, 56, of Barboursville, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $405,884 in restitution for a 10-year scheme which pushed the $300,000 credit union into insolvency.

The scheme was only uncovered in February when the credit union was merging with nearby Huntington Area Postal Federal Credit Union and sent out statements to all of its members, but many of the statements did not match year-end statements sent out just weeks before.

McClanahan, a retired school teacher, pleaded guilty in March to writing hundreds of checks on the credit union for amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and using the funds for her personal use.

CU 24 Makes Payout To Owners

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-Credit union 24, the credit union owned electronic funds network, said it will pay its member/owners a patronage dividend of $2.3 million, more than twice last year's payout.

The dividend will be based on each credit union's use of the network in 2002. The network has paid out almost $5 million in dividends over the past five years.

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