Leigh French serves as a trustee on SAG pension and health plan. She is one of the most educated, senior trustees currently serving us. Gabrielle Carteris fired her as a health plan trustee when the SAG and AFTRA health plans were merged. I filled a complaint stating that the firing of a valuable trustee like Ms. French is not in the best interests of all plan participants. Ms. French got replaced with a trustee that had little to no experience. Ms. French is responsible for the one cost of living increase given to participants in the last 10 years amongst many other advancements in protections. By firing Ms. French, Gabrielle Carteris is not looking out for the best interests of the memberships and she is in violation of title 5 of the LMRDA. 

          SAG P & H /Fiduciary Responsibility of a Trustee

Sent: Wed 7/20/2016 12:55 AM

To: 'dci@sagaftra.org', 'Jane Austin', 'dwhite@sagaftra.org', 'mestrada@sagph.org'


Duncan, I understand you publicly stated in front of many eye witnesses there was a forensic audit performed on the SAG Pension and Health plan after the embezzlement was uncovered and reported by Craig Simmons. Kindly produce the name of the firm who did the “forensic” audit, the name of the lead auditor and a copy of the report. It is my legal right as a plan participant to review this document. Why didn’t you as a Trustee disclose the findings of the “forensic” audit you have now confirmed to the plan participants as required by ERISA Law? Kindly provide the exact amount of all monies embezzled by Nadir Karimi and others with the forensic evidence to back up your claim. The below statement was made by AFTRA H and R Trustees:


Although there is no doubt that plan mergers are legally permissible in appropriate circumstances, the merger of pension and health funds as large and divergent as the AFTRA and SAG plans raises complex and unique financial, legal and benefit issues which can only be addressed through a comprehensive analysis performed by the funds. 


The common custom and financial practice of any corporation wishing to consider a merge would be to perform “qualified audits” on both entities (SAG P & H and AFTRA H & R) then compare their financial records to their tax returns 3 years in arrears to ascertain their true and correct valuations. This information will provide the information necessary to quantify if the potential merge is a value add or not. 


Please tell me what financial due diligence was performed in specificity to assure me that my SAG health plan benefits are protected and that all SAG plan participants won’t be subjected to a diminution of benefits and an increase in earning thresholds as proffered in the Mercer report in 2003?


Please tell me how the merger of the SAG and AFTRA health plan solves the split earnings issue? The fact is split earnings are now codified indefinitely. Executive staff at SAG and AFTRA and The Unite for Strength political party headed now by current SAG AFTRA President Gabriel Carteres sold the merger in 2012 on the basis that merging the 2 entities would end split earnings and protect all members pension and health benefits. SAG never produced a shred of data to back those claims up.  That ill researched theory has been proven completely incorrect and has damaged me and many plan participants financially. If the SAG and AFTRA health plans merge the SAG and AFTRA pension plans are still separate. Show me the evidence of any forensic audit done on either plan in the last 10 years.


The staffs earnings are not split and your pension cap is 210k compared to SAG members 96k. You can retire at age 55 with a full pension with only 20 years of service and I have 37 pension credits and cannot get a full pension?! These terms are unethical. Who orchestrated this unjust enrichment in favor of the staff? I’d like a name and a copy of the minutes evidencing the origin of this lack of parity. Most respectfully, how can I or any member trust anything that comes out of Executive Staff’s mouth in regard to this issue?  I demand to be financially protected as this is my right under the law as a SAG Pension and Health participant. 

I understand a petition with over 1500 signatures on it demanding a forensic audit on both the SAG and AFTRA plans before the health plans merge was sent to the National Board. According to customs and practices it is mandatory that all National Board members receive a copy. Did they? Was it brought up for discussion at the National Board meeting last weekend? What was the result?  


The continues lack of transparency in regard to SAG, SAG P & H and SAG AFTRA affairs that directly affect the memberships best interest is unacceptable and dishonest. You as a trustee have a fiduciary responsibility to me and all other plan participants under Title 5 of the Landrum Griffin Act. 


In addition to:


Employer/Union Rights and Obligations

The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights.

Examples of employer conduct that violates the law:

  • Threatening employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity.
  • Threatening to close the plant if employees select a union to represent them.
  • Questioning employees about their union sympathies or activities in circumstances that tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights under the Act.
  • Promising benefits to employees to discourage their union support.
  • Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity.
  • Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they filed unfair labor practice charges or participated in an investigation conducted by NLRB


It has also come to my attention that Leigh French was removed as a health plan Trustee by SAG AFTRA President Gabriel Carteres and her political party. This is a direct violation of Title 5 of the LMRDA insofar that Miss French is constantly educating herself in the field of Trusteeship, is one of the most senior Trusteeswith a proven track record  over years of documented service protecting plan participant benefits. How many current or newly appointed Trustees have the credentials of Miss French? Miss French has a longstanding very successful work history.


Miss Carteres, all members of the national board who voted Miss French out, Michael Estrada and all plan trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of the plan participants first and foremost. 


Do you believe removing Miss French is in the best interest of the SAG plan participants? If you agree with removing her, kindly state valid reasons backed up by the data that substantiates your position. Do any of the newly appointed trustees have the credentials and the experience of Leigh French? How many current Trustees have the tenure and credentials of Miss French? Why is Ned Vaugn a Trustee when he resides in Georgia? Does he have better qualifications than Leigh French? How many current Trustees actually earn a living working SAG contracts beside Miss French? I believe it is your responsibility as well as all other fiduciaries to advise the national board on matters that protect plan participants. Did you or any other trustee advise Gabriel or any other member/s of the national board to remove or to keep her? I ask you this formally as a SAG P & H plan Trustee.


Removing Leigh French as a Health plan Trustee is clearly not in the best interests of the plan participants. As a plan participant consider this a most formal complaint from me. If this wrong is not righted I will seek all protections under the applicable statutes of law.


Lastly, I would like the resumes of all new Health Plan Trustees and request the vetting process in the choosing of these soon to be fiscally responsible Trustees that are so critical to the wellbeing of over 47000 SAG P & H participants?


It is a custom and practice that a union member has the right to petition all members of the national board that represent him/her. I speak to you in this instance as the SAG AFTRA COO.  This is a formal request that this letter be distributed to every member of the SAG AFTRA National Board. 


I formally request that you as a SAG P & H plan Trustee/Fiduciary, distribute this letter to every SAG P & H plan Trustee/Fiduciary on the performer and the management side.


I kindly request a response in 10 days.



Peter Antico

818-694-2888 off

818-760-1604 fax