New York Boss Forged Checks for $111,000

Ex-Albany boss, Nancy Groome, admitted July 11 that she embezzled more than $111,000 from Civil Serv. Employees Ass’n Local 316. She pled guilty to one count of union embezzlement and told U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas J. McAvoy (N.D.N.Y., Reagan) that she forged union checks to pay for groceries, car insurance, and other personal expenses. Allegedly, she forged 319 checks between 1993-99.

Groome wrote checks on a union account  made out to herself. She also wrote checks to vendors for union-related training trips that she never took. She was Local 316’s treasurer from 1980 until Mar. 2000. The checks were reportedly forged between July 22, 1993, and Nov. 2, 1999. CSEA rules require that checks be signed by the union president and the chief financial officer, but Groome reportedly forged those signatures. The missing funds were discovered during a union audit. She reportedly faces prison time and $111,476 in restitution when she is sentenced Nov. 1. [Times Union (Albany) 7/13/01]

IRB Bars Michigan Boss for Life
The Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters’ Indep. Rev. Bd. stripped Michael C. Bane, president of IBT Local 614 in Pontiac, Mich., of his office July 19 and barred him from the union for life because Bane didn’t cooperate with IRB’s probe and intentionally gave misleading testimony in a sworn statement about his ties with three men identified as mob figures by federal agents. Absent of “any mitigating factors,” IRB held “the only suitable remedy” was to permanently bar Bane from IBT and all IBT-affiliated entities. The ruling must be affirmed by U.S. Dist. Judge Loretta A. Preska (S.D.N.Y., H.W. Bush). Bane and his father, Joseph Bane, Sr., who was convicted of racketeering in the late 1970s, have run the local for most of the past 30 years. IBT boss James P. Hoffa is a member and ex-attorney of Local 614; he is also reportedly a close associate of Bane, Jr. [AP 7/21/01; BNA 7/24/01]

Quindel Rejects Wilhelm Charges
Predictably, Barbara Zack Quindel, the tainted election officer, has dismissed charges that John W. Wilhelm, Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union boss, tinkered with HERE Local 1’s election rules and used int’l union resources to benefit a slate of candidates he favored. Quindel was appointed by the int’l union. Quindel, who oversaw the failed 1996 Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters election, “supervised” the Chicago local’s June 27 election and told BNA July 23 that she denied the election protests from the two losing slates. She didn’t give an reasons for her rejection. Both slates said they would appeal her decision; they must first appeal to Wilhelm himself. Patrick Deady, attorney for ex-Local 1 boss Terry Maloney, said his client is not optimistic about his prospects before Wilhelm and is prepared to take the issue to the Dep’t of Labor. [BNA 7/25/01]

California VP Nearing Deal in Theft Case
David Gottlieb, attorney for Alan L. Axt, ex-vice president of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1288 Fed. Credit Union, told U.S. Dist. Judge Oliver W. Wanger (E.D. Cal., H.W. Bush) that Axt will plead guilty to charges that he embezzled $237,335. Axt, who is free on his own recognizance, was indicted in June on one-count of taking the funds from the Fresno, Cal., credit union between Mar. 1999 and Nov. 30, 2000. Wanger set Aug. 13 as the date for a possible plea change and Sept. 25 as a trial date if a deal can’t be reached. [Fresno Bee 7/24/01]