$100,000 Abused; Another New York Takeover

Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. seized another of its 56 locals Jan. 28 after an audit found over $100,000 in questionable spending by Local 1508 president Al Cannizzo.
 He allegedly had the local reimburse him $15,000 for 215 visits to the Golden Gate Motor Inn, a Brooklyn “short-stay motel” from Jan. 1995 and Dec 1998. It’s not known exactly what Cannizzo did during his stays at the motel, where rates are $53 for a four-hour stay and $110 for the night.  He reportedly often checked in during the afternoon and stayed a couple of hours.

In addition to the motel stays, Cannizzo reportedly had the union pay personal credit card expenses of $3,650, make a $1,650 personal loan payment and pay $270 for a family member’s psychiatric exam. The auditors also questioned more than $43,000 in bills for car phones and pagers.  Cannizzo’s expenditures have been reportedly referred to Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau.

The charges against Cannizzo, a self-proclaimed reformer, have embarrassed the Committee for Real Change,
a reform group within DC37, of which Cannizzo was a member.  The group has criticized DC37 bosses for not moving more aggressively against corruption. “I don’t get how someone who knows that he did what he did was hanging out with the reformers denouncing others who stole,” said dissident attorney Arthur Schwartz.

The Local 1508 takeover signals a second wave of charges in DC37 as its audits start to “flush out” problems not previously revealed in criminal charges issued by Morgenthau. Over two dozen DC37 bosses and its vendors have been indicted on a variety of union corruption charges.  [Newsday 1/31/00; Daily News 2/9/00]