The Cinematographers Guild has ordered former treasurer Alan Gitlin to reimburse the union $15,465, pay a $1,500 fine and pony up $1,224 in legal fees for allegedly absconding with nearly $30,000 in hotel rewards points and computer equipment he took when he left office. The guild – Local 600 of the IATSE – has been trying to get him to return the money for over a year.
In October, a nine-member union trial board found him guilty of misappropriating some $26,000 in hotel rewards points that rightly belonged to the union. An earlier trial board had found him guilty of taking another $3,301 in credit card points and computer equipment.
Last month the union’s national executive board heard his appeal and, after due deliberation, ordered him to pay the fines and make restitution. He has until February 23 to appeal. Gitlin could not be reached for comment.
Steven Poster, the guild’s president, told the union’s board via email that Local 600 has filed a claim against the Fidelity fiduciary bond for the hotel rewards points in the amount of $25,037 but noted that “Fidelity contested that valuation.” The local and the insurer, he wrote, are now in talks “to settle the dispute based on a compromise of the value of the points. Such a settlement would require that Local 600 assign its hotel reward points claim against Gitlin to Fidelity, and release Fidelity from the claim. Fidelity would be free to sue Gitlin for the value of the points; Local 600 would not.”
In an affidavit of internal union charges, Poster and secretary-treasurer Edward Avila – who defeated Gitlin in his re-election bid in 2016 – said that during his term of office, Gitlin had maintained personal hotel program reward accounts and “caused the points generated by Local 600’s business with the hotels to be credited to his personal hotel reward accounts, rather than be credited to reward accounts held in the name of Local 600. The points credited to his personal accounts arose out of official Local 600 business with these hotels, including but not limited to room and event charges associated with Local 600 national executive board meetings, IATSE general executive board meetings, and IATSE conventions.”