State AFL-CIO President John Olsen and 13 other fund trustees agreed on Jun. 10 to pay more than $2 million in restitution and another $416,000 in civil penalties. The Labor Department sued Olsen and other trustees of the CT Plumbers & Pipefitters pension fund over investments the department said were risky and led to losses of $2-3 million.
Olsen will be able to continue serving as a financial guardian of union pension funds under the terms of a settlement. The money will be paid by an insurance policy, not the trustees themselves.
In the original lawsuit, the department had asked that Olsen and the other trustees be permanently barred from serving as financial guardians to employee benefit plans. The settlement includes no such prohibition, although it does require the trustees to carefully evaluate potential risks. [Hartford Courant 06/11/98]
Longshoreman Pleads Guilty
A union dockworker pleaded guilty Jun. 12 for his role in a massive drug-smuggling conspiracy at Port Everglades, FL. Mark Knight, a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1526, is the 1st to plead guilty of the 14 defendants arrested in Mar. Prosecutors say the group smuggled more than 3,000 pounds of cocaine, 10,000 pounds of marijuana and a small quantity of heroin in a 19-month period. He pleaded guilty to 1 conspiracy count. In return prosecutors will drop all other charges against him.
Knight was one of the ringleaders in the conspiracy, along with Cecil ”Big Dirty” McCleod who is a crane operator with Teamsters Local 390. [Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel 06/13/98]
“President Clinton also made news today, saying he will not support the unionizing of the Secret Service. They apparently want to be a union. And he said ‘no.’ I don’t understand that, because their job with the President is to stand around and make sure nothing happens. Doesn’t that automatically make them Teamsters?”
-Bill Maher, host of “Politically Incorrect,” Jun. 17.