Becker Views Members as “Unsophisticated”
John Hughes, former manager at the IAFF-FC, makes the case in his federal lawsuit that Kurt Becker, head of the IAFF-FC, was primarily interested in kickbacks from prospective service providers rather than helping IAFF members.
Hughes says that Becker once told him the new companies “would need to “pay to play” in the same manner that Nationwide had paid millions to the IAFF-FC to “play” for years.”
Hughes, a financial professional, was hired by the IAFF-FC to initiate model investment programs for IAFF members.
When Hughes red-flagged the “kickbacks”, and two of the new firms balked at paying, Becker put the project on hold saying “the juice was not worth the squeeze” seemingly indicating that the primary purpose of the effort was to grab cash for the IAFF —so no kickback to the IAFF meant no model investment portfolios for members.
Becker once said, “We see it as our duty to “level the playing field” for America’s firefighters by providing . . . an opportunity for them to invest their assets in model portfolios…”
Not so much, apparently.
But we shouldn’t be surprised. The IAFF-FC has always been about garnering “relationship payments” to the IAFF for run-of-the-mill products hawked to members.
When Hughes told Becker that the project would be of little use without the model investment portfolios, Becker, according to Hughes, said not to worry as he viewed IAFF members as unsophisticated and unlikely to notice the change.
Becker was both correct and cravenly cynical in his assessment.
The relative lack of sophistication of IAFF members in investment matters should be at the very heart of the IAFF-FC mission; to ensure that our union bridges the gap in both knowledge and access.
But Becker all but said don’t worry, they’re too stupid to notice.
Thanks to John Hughes we did.
More to come.