The powerful retail workers union headed by Amazon killer Stuart Appelbaum spent $1.9 million buying a luxury midtown condo that sits unoccupied.
A subsidiary of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union plunked down the cash for the two-bedroom condo at 325 Fifth Ave. in 2017, city records show.
The 41-story building at 32nd Street includes a swimming pool, spa and screening room.
The purchase was made by the RWDSU Realty Corp., without any oversight from the union’s executive board, according to Ted Hunt, who heads a union local in Michigan and is seeking to oust Appelbaum as president.
“Somehow spending union money on a lavish lifestyle while we are losing members is somehow acceptable and condoned by the existing leadership. I am sure that our membership would find this lavish spending morally corrupt,” Hunt says on his SaveThe RWDSU website.
He told The Post that the board only approved the purchase after a former union official, Allen Mayne, alerted the federal Department of Labor, which opened a probe.
Mayne, who had been director of collective bargaining, told The Post he was illegally terminated from the union and then reached a settlement agreement with it.
Appelbaum, in an April 2022 memo, said a “disgruntled former employee” made “baseless allegations” about the union’s operations that were investigated by the DOL. He said the agency found no wrongdoing and closed the case.
As proof, he enclosed a letter from the Cozen O’Connor law firm, which the union hired, saying the matter was closed.
“The Department of Labor has not provided any documentation saying they were cleared of anything,” Hunt disputed.
A Labor Department spokesman did not return a request for comment from The Post.
The union said the condo was purchased with proceeds from the sale of another property and was considered an investment.
“The RWDSU has a long and successful history of growing union funds by smartly investing in real estate through the RWDSU Realty Corp,” Appelbaum said in a statement to The Post. “This arrangement put the union in its best financial shape ever and will enable the union to fund organizing efforts for years to come.”
A union spokeswoman said the apartment was used by out-of-town union officers and staff when they come to New York for business and had resulted in “significant savings” in hotel and meal costs.
The union’s expense for the apartment in yearly property taxes alone are $34,385, city records show.
Appelbaum, 69, a member of the Democratic National Committee, has headed the 50,000-member union since 1998.
He was considered instrumental in killing Amazon’s plan to open a second headquarters in Long Island City that would have created 25,000 jobs. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office blasted the RWDSU after the deal fell through in 2019, even though Appelbaum was one of Cuomo’s biggest supporters.
Hunt, 45, who works at a Post Foods plant in Battle Creek, Mich., said he wanted to bring more accountability to the union.