NYC Officials Admit Taking Bribes: Union Agrees to Independent Investigation

After 3 frmr. plumbers’ union officials pled guilty to larceny and bribery last Dec., their unions agreed to an independent investigation by a leading security firm, reports Tom Robbins of the Village Voice.  Kroll Inc., which is led by frmr. FBI official James Bucknam, will have total access to the financial records of Local 1 of the United Assn. of Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters (UA).  Kroll will also have power to investigate any possible connection between the union and organized crime.  Ex-federal prosecutor Edward A. McDonald will hear any charges of corruption brought by Kroll investigators.  The supervision, agreed to with the NY Attny. Gen. and the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Ofc. of the Inspector General, will last 18 mos.

 

Local 1 bus. agents Dominick Goffredo and Thomas Parrella pled guilty to taking bribes from a contractor working at Staten Island Univ. Hospital.  In exchange, officials with “API Plumbing” failed to deposit nearly $1 million into the union’s benefit funds while the union agents looked the other way.  Just days after the arrests in June, Donald Sclafani resigned as president of the Local.  Sclafani was appointed president of the new Local 1 in the late 1990s by the UA’s Wash., DC, hierarchy, after Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau won convictions of 7 officers of 3 different locals for mob-orchestrated fraud.

 

Having pled guilty to felonies, Godfredo and Parrella stepped down from their positions in the union in Dec., but David Ahinsky, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor count, remains the union’s financial secy.  “Nobody’s happy about having outsiders come in,” said current Local 1 president George Reilly.  But the Kroll investigation, acc. to Reilly, was preferable to a trusteeship imposed by the natl. union, or a racketeering suit by NY Attny. Gen. Eliot Spitzer. [Village Voice, 2/10/04]