The president of the city principals' union faces a hearing tomorrow after being stripped of his authority over allegations that he misused union funds.

George DiPilato, who has led the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, Teamsters Local No. 502, since Jan. 1, 2000, was suspended from his job without pay in October by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

DiPilato, 67, will have a chance to defend himself during a closed-door hearing at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at a union office at 4369 Richmond St. He did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

He'll have much to answer to, according to a letter Teamsters' General President James P. Hoffa sent to nearly 900 members.

In it, Hoffa alleges that since 2001, DiPilato "has repeatedly caused the local to pay for personal expenses, including his wife's cell phone, airline tickets for his wife, expenditures for Internet and cable television service at his two personal residences, a digital camera for his personal use and automobile expenses which exceeded the maximum monthly car allowance authorized by the local's executive board."

Hoffa also charged that under DiPilato, requirements governing meetings and financial record-keeping were routinely violated.

"We're not talking about millions of dollars. We're talking thousands," said Edward F. Keyser, whom Hoffa appointed as temporary trustee of the principals' union. "But that's not the point. The point is whether he violated his oath to uphold the local standards and whether he misused funds."

A panel of three Teamsters officials from other parts of the country will hear testimony from DiPilato and from the parent union and render a decision about a month later, Keyser said.

If the allegations are found to be true, DiPilato could be expelled from the union and ordered to reimburse it, he said.

Since the early 1960s, DiPilato has been a teacher, a principal at Lincoln and South Philadelphia high schools and elsewhere, a district superintendent under superintendents Michael Marcase and Connie Clayton, and superintendent of the Pennsbury School District in Bucks County.

Those who know DiPilato well said the allegations don't fit the man.

"I think it's just allegations, that's all," said Michael Lodise, president of the School Police Association of Philadelphia. "I've known this man for 40-something years. He's the best. I can't believe this. He has an impeccable career."

Ted Kirsch, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said DiPilato's troubles may be a result of poor record-keeping, not corruption.

"To be a union leader, there is a lot you have to learn, and I don't think he was given enough training or preparation to do the job," Kirsch said. "I think there were procedural mistakes that he made. I don't think he benefited personally from any of this." *