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National AFM Finds $400,000 Fund Discrepancy

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The national American Federation of Musicians appears to be dealing with discrepancies in its Sound Recording Special Payments Fund, which has led to the ouster of the fund's executive director and a demand for restitution of $400,000.

Thomas F. Lee, national president of the AFM, in mid-October updated members regarding an ongoing investigation into the special payments fund. The update was reprinted on Tuesday on ArtsJournal.com's website. The journal garners information from national and international sources regarding arts issues.

Lee's report noted that in August, Enex Steele was dismissed as the special fund's executive director, adding that Steele "had engaged in a series of unauthorized actions."

The specific actions were listed in a "demand letter" that the fund sent to Steele after his firing. Lee's update included a copy of the letter to Steele. The letter, signed by the fund's two counsels, demands that Steele make restitution of monies and property "in excess of $400,000." The monies include "unauthorized advances...in excess of $250,000" and unauthorized expenses of more than $60,000.

The letter also accuses Steele of using fund assets to purchase over $40,000 in equipment, including computer hardware and software and a digital video player. While not listing specific values, the letter also charges Steele with obtaining reimbursements for "at least one unauthorized trip to Cuba for personal pleasure" and "many thousands of dollars [spent] on expensive clothing and accessories...."

The fund's counsels close the letter by informing Steele that the fund intends to pursue civil and criminal actions against him.

A call to the national AFM's press representative hadn't been returned by press time.

Local 802 Eyes Surplus

Meanwhile, AFM's Local 802 in New York has posted a slight surplus of $52,209 in its latest six-month financial report to members. The independent audit covers through June 30, 2003.

The Local 802 financial report shows a total of $2.61 million in income, with total expenses of $2.56 million, leaving a surplus of $52,209.

The six months' income came mainly from work dues ($2.2 million). Primary expenses were for general office ($706,311), officers ($631,383), and organizing ($619,145). Occupancy costs totaled $366,849, and legal fees came to $114,675.

The local's total assets and liabilities were each $6.07 million.

The report appeared in the October issue of Allegro, Local 802's monthly newspaper.

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