Ex-Police Union Secretary Who Alleged Racial Discrimination Charged With Stealing From Union

TRENTON, NJ – A former corrections officers union secretary who is hoping to score a big payday from a civil suit will likely land is criminal court first.

Audrey Dixon, who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against PBA Local 105 in October, was charged Feb. 2 for credit card fraud against the union, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio Tuesday said in a statement.

Dixon, 47, of Trenton, allegedly made several purchases using PBA’s Staples credit card and obtained several gift cards, school supplies and other items by representing that she had the consent of the cardholder, PBA Local 105.

She was charged by the Trenton Police Department with third-degree credit card crime with intent of the cardholder to defraud and a disorderly persons theft.

Dixon, who is African-American, was terminated from her PBA executive assistant job on Sept. 2 following the appointment of new union leadership, who are all white men.

Her explosive civil complaint alleged the new guard who fired her was “hostile and abusive” and the leadership referred to her and other black workers as “darkies” and the N-word.

The state’s largest police union has been embroiled in an internal racial battle since former President Lance Lopez, who is black, lost re-election to Brian Renshaw, who is white.

Dixon said she was terminated in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination.

Lopez said Tuesday that he did not know the specifics of Dixon’s arrest, but made a prediction on the outcome.

“A lot of this I think is just retaliation for the lawsuit that she filed against them,” Lopez said. “If I was a betting man and based on the guys that are down there now, I would probably venture to say that it probably has no merit.”

Dixon’s civil attorney, who initially contended that his client was not charged when reached for comment, said it “remains to be seen” if the arrest will affect the lawsuit.

“It’s my understanding that anything that happened with the credit was after her employment,” Alan H. Schorr, of Cherry Hill, said Tuesday. “The fact of the matter is she was discriminated against, she was wrongfully terminated and that lawsuit will proceed regardless of what happens with these retaliatory charges by the union.”

Schorr said Dixon has a different attorney for the criminal case. That attorney said his policy is not to discuss “who is and is not represented by the firm.”

In the lawsuit, Dixon said she had a “life agreement” with PBA 105 that was signed on Oct. 1, 2010, and she alleged PBA 105, under Renshaw’s leadership, breached that contract by terminating her employment without compensating her with thousands of dollars in termination payments equal to five years of her annual salary.

Stuart Alterman, general counsel for PBA 105, previously classified Dixon’s allegations as “patently false, misleading, a misrepresentation, and defamatory.”

Renshaw, who was sworn in as union president on June 21, declined comment about Dixon’s arrest. He took over at a tumultuous time for the union.

Rigged election results initially indicated that Lopez won the election. But verified results actually determined Renshaw and his slate won the election for the union’s leadership positions.

His victory, however, stirred racial tensions in PBA Local 105.

Shortly after the election, a photo was unearthed that showed newly elected PBA 105 Executive Vice President No. 3 Michael Gallagher dressed as a blackface Santa Claus with several large gold necklaces around his neck.

Gallagher previously explained that he dressed as “black gangster Santa Claus” five years ago at a private Halloween party in South Jersey. He said he was dating a black woman at the time who, he said, did not have a problem with his costume.

In addition to the blackface photo, The Trentonian received text messages purportedly sent to Renshaw by a member that used the N-word and “darkies” to describe some of the African-American leadership at the union.

Also under Renshaw’s leadership, PBA 105 reneged on its $4,000 pledged commitment to The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County (TAACC) two weeks before the group was scheduled to have its jazz and comedy festival. A wealthy Trenton family that won a $429.6 million Powerball jackpot eventually chipped in $4,000 to help TAACC proceed with the festival.

From The Trentonian