An administrator for the sandhog's union has been accused of heisting $42 million from the labor group — and spending a chunk of the cash on high-end horses, according to the Times. Melissa King, 58, is facing charges for allegedly exploiting her role overseeing benefits funds for the tunnel borers and using their money to pay for her lavish lifestyle and her youngest daughter's equestrian pursuits.
Over the past seven years, King has purportedly spent more than $3 million on horses, horse-related goods, and horse-related services so that 17-year-old Laura King-Kaplan could maintain a stable of top horses that has been ranked the fourth best in the nation. King reportedly spent $2.3 million of union money at Heritage Farm, where her daughter trained and kept horses before moving them to Old Salem Farm, where lodging for a single horse costs $3,000 per month. King and her daughter — who rides in competitions — have owned at least 18 horses, which can sell for $500,000 apiece.
Bankruptcy filings drafted after King's fourth divorce in 1999 revealed that in the past, she had used business accounts to pay several hundred thousand dollars of personal expenses including tuition at Fieldstone School in Riverdale and shopping expenditures at Neiman Marcus. She wasn't hit with criminal charges for those purchases, but after terminating her contract in 2008 the sandhogs took her to court. Even though she earned $540,000 per year from the sandhogs alone, those who knew King couldn't figure out where she got all her money. "The family members always wondered how she could afford all those horses," said Teresa Laggner, a San Diego lawyer who handles the estate of the parents of Ms. King's fourth husband. "I guess now we know."
King's attorneys have said that she is innocent and that she had approval from union leaders, the paper reports.