Former LPOA members ask for Omaha chapter to be reinstated following corruption scandal
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In January, months before the indictments against Vinny Palermo and three others in the now-infamous Omaha public corruption case, 6 News explained in an exclusive report how the Omaha Latino Peace Officers Association was hemorrhaging money.
This report came after the current president and past president — both Omaha Police Officers — were under investigation by Internal Affairs and the FBI.
Before the scandal, 150 police officers had dues withheld from their paychecks, earmarked for the LPOA.
Just 10 days after the search warrant on the home of LPOA president Johnny Palermo, only eight of those 150 employees continued to pay dues — a $20,000 hit to the organization.
Days later at an emergency meeting in Omaha, it was decided that in the best interest moving forward, the national office would take over, selecting a new local board of directors and chapter president.
Last week, at the national LPOA convention in Orlando, Fla., 6 News learned that Greg Gonzalez, a retired Omaha Deputy Police Chief and the brother to the scandal-involved Richie Gonzalez, asked the national leaders to reinstate the old Omaha chapter.
It sparked an angry email from the president of the Omaha Police Officers Association to its members, saying they can’t be a part of “any chapter led by former members who have faced severe trust issues.”
The current president of the LPOA in Omaha, Sgt. Queno Martinez, tells 6 News that he was surprised by the request to reinstate the old chapter by someone who isn’t even a dues-paying member.
He says the organization lost plenty of goodwill following the scandal and have been rebuilding trust with the public and police using the current personnel in the LPOA.
At one point, dues-paying members dropped to just five. The LPOA has since been growing, though, as it’s up to 20 now.
6 On Your Side wanted to get a better understanding from Greg Gonzalez on the reasoning behind the request to the National Board to re-install the old Omaha chapter, but didn’t hear back by Tuesday night.
In 2018 - he was an elected member of the National Board.
The current LPOA president Sgt. Martinez says that the current stakeholders - from the police chief to mayor and the other Omaha police unions back the current version of the LPOA.
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