IAFF: Shysters Inc.

Eric Lamar
5 min readApr 24, 2023

Your money and your life.

He said it would be different

When Ed “Edzo” Kelly dropped the dime on then IAFF president Harold Schaitberger, there was hope he would set a new course for our seriously squalid union. Kelly had reached out to the IRS and the Justice Department with proof that financial impropriety was routine at the IAFF.

Ed “Edzo” Kelly

But little, if anything, has changed. After Schaitberger finally gave up the ghost and Edzo became king of the realm it became clear that it was business as usual.

Your money…

Thanks to Jack Hughes, the now terminated financial professional at the IAFF-FC, we have further proof, were it needed, that Kelly and his crew are chiefly, perhaps solely, interested in fleecing service providers for direct payments to the IAFF rather than ensuring the best financial products for members.

Hughes’ pending law suit in Federal court details not only pay-to-play allegations but also how Kurt Becker, IAFF-FC director, was willing to drop much needed program improvements if it stood in the way of cash for the IAFF.

Kurt Becker

Here we should recall that a favorite Schaitberger tactic was to create personal wealth opportunities and then marry them to the IAFF so that all his various nests were feathering each other.

Harold Schaitberger

Perhaps the best example is the National Council on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS). Schaitberger grew that group while he was employed at the IAFF and he received regular payments from them for years. He appointed his IAFF cronies to NCPERS positions and so enmeshed the two organizations that the tumor was inoperable.

And his money manager buddies were always the big winners as they gained contacts and entree to municipal funds nationwide.

Does Kurt Becker learn from the best?

It’s reported that the first “deal” that Becker brought to the IAFF board in his new role as the lead of the IAFF-FC was with Hidrent, a bizarre scheme where off-duty fire/rescue personnel with mechanical and construction skills are matched with those in need of such services.

Did we mention that Becker is the Chief Operating Officer at Hidrent?

Schaitberger must be saying, “You go, Kurt!”

Becker convinced the IAFF to buy into Hidrent to the tune of $162,000 of our dues money.

We can all wonder what our brothers and sisters in the Building Trades must think of this thinly veiled scab scheme.

Building Trades Unions

By the way, the Hidrent model of part-timers is the exact same one used by municipalities as they employ paid on-call firefighters which the IAFF has long complained bitterly about.

Perhaps the paid on-call firefighters can be members of the Building Trades and it will all even out.

Did Becker disclose his relationship with Hidrent to the IAFF Board?

Did the IAFF board not see the glaring conflicts?

Either way, Kelly continues the Schaitberger tradition of reckless pursuit of cold cash.

… And your life

At the same time as the IAFF-FC controversy balloons, Kelly appears to be monetizing the PFAS debacle by relentlessly promoting a new scheme with the “PFAS Law Firms.”

The latest issue of the Fire Fighter magazine looks like a billboard for a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.

Based on what we know about the IAFF-FC, members should be deeply skeptical regarding whether any law firm embraced by the IAFF has their best interests in mind.

In virtually every case, the IAFF has aggressively partnered with outside entities for their own benefit sacrificing member welfare and integrity along the way.

Team Edzo

Never forget that Schaitberger skimmed nickels from sick and dying children to finance his fancy dinners, chauffeured limos and first class air travel.

That’s the way we do it at the IAFF.

NCPERS, IAFF-FC and Hidrent, to name but a few, all show that decision making at the IAFF is never about what’s best for members and PFAS should be seen in exactly that light.

But if you still needed another reason, consider what happened to the million dollar Schnader report commissioned by our union to explore the long and sordid history of mismanagement under Schaitberger and Kelly — they refused to disclose it to rank and file members who have every right to know the details.

But even now, after all this, Edzo Kelly wants you to trust the law firm he picked.

If Kelly is serious he should email a copy of the entire contractual relationship with the so-called PFAS Law Firms to every IAFF member so that we know the details and can make our choice wisely.

And he should also do the same with entities under contract with the IAFF-FC.

But only after he first mails us a copy of the Schnader investigative report.

Of course, he’ll do none of the above.

Welcome to Edzo’s IAFF.

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