Illinois Maintenance of Way Secretary-Treasurer Files Amended Plea

On January, 26, Michael Schofield, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 1046, entered an amended guilty plea in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to embezzlement of $31,850 from the Plainfield, Ill.-based union.  In the latest action, which vacates his guilty plea last June to one count of falsifying financial records, Schofield pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making an unauthorized loan.  Sentencing is set for March 21.  The earlier and current plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Los Angeles AFSCME Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft

On January 26, Carmen Martinez, former treasurer of Bet Tzedek Legal Service Union Local 946, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of embezzling funds from the Los Angeles union in the amount of $19,070.  AFSCME Local 946, along with its sister union, Local 800, has a collective bargaining agreement (and a barely sustainable one at that) with Bet Tzedek, a progressive-oriented nonprofit affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.  The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Laborers Office Manager in Idaho Indicted for Embezzlement; Pleads Guilty

On January 25, Ashley Cline, former office manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 155, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho for embezzling more than $37,000 in funds from the Idaho Falls-based union.  She then pleaded guilty.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 20.  The indictment and plea follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

NYC Teamster President Sentenced for Role in Fraud and Kickback Scheme

Louis Smith won’t have to spend much in the way of prison time, but he will have to spend some more money.  On January 24, Smith, former president of the New York City-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one year in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for taking kickbacks as part of a conspiracy to fleece two union benefit plans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He also was ordered to forfeit $151,481 in assets on top of the $213,264 he already had paid in restitution.  Smith, along with Johnnie Miranti, an officer with Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, had pleaded guilty in August.  The pair, along with Miranti’s father, had been indicted in July 2015 following a joint probe by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department …

Ex-President of Federal Employees Local in Pennsylvania Sentenced

On January 25, John Kauffman Jr., former president of National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local Lodge 1442, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one month in prison, to be followed by seven months of home confinement, for mail fraud against the Chambersburg, Pa. union.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $22,062.  Kauffman had been charged last September, and pleaded guilty immediately thereafter.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Longshoremen Business Agent in Virginia Sentenced for Stealing $1M+

Robert Smith III saw his union as a free ATM machine for his personal expenses.  His next few years are going to be costly.  On February 2, Smith, former business agent and financial secretary of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 970, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 41 months in prison, to be followed by three years of probation for embezzling more than $1 million in funds from the Norfolk-based union.  He had pleaded guilty last October following an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Smith, now 49, a resident of Virginia Beach, ran the finances of ILA Local 970 whose members work the docks and terminals at Port of Virginia.  In addition to representing workers, unfortunately, he also was stealing from them.  According to prosecutors, during March 2006-April 2016 Smith deposited new member initiation fees …

Business Manager of Washington, D.C. LIUNA Local Sentenced

Anthony Frederick Sr. used his union as a private bank to fund various projects.  For now, his only project is incarceration.  Two days ago, on February 7, Frederick, former business manager of Laborers International Union of North America Local 657, was sentenced in District of Columbia federal court to four years in prison, and ordered to pay full restitution, for embezzling more than $1.7 million from the formerly Washington, D.C.-based union, which represents about 1,650 workers in Washington, D.C. and several surrounding Maryland and Virginia counties.  Frederick had pleaded guilty on November 1.  Two other persons, Gary Cooper and Christopher Kwegan, also were convicted in the scheme, the result of a probe by the FBI and the Labor Department.

Union Corruption Update twice has reported on this case.  Frederick, now 50, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Md., had served as LIUNA Local 657 business manager for about a decade.  But …

Teachers Union Fails to Block Florida School Choice Program

Teachers unions across the U.S. for over two decades have opposed initiatives to expand choice for parents of public school children.  In some states, opposition has fallen flat.  On January 18, the Florida Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO, lost its bid to win legal standing before the State Supreme Court in challenging a state tax credit scholarship program for low-income elementary and secondary students.  The association, aided by a number of co-plaintiffs, had alleged that the nonprofit-managed program diverts funds from public schools to private schools and thus deprives students who remain in public schools of their right to receive a decent education.  The ruling thus ends the union appeal process.

School choice has been prominent on the policy radar screen since the early 90s.  It rests on the conviction that public school student performance, often substandard in low-income schools, can be boosted …

Washington State Security Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

On January 18, Charles Nelson, former secretary-treasurer of the National Council of Security Police, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to six months in federal prison and three years of probation for embezzling funds from the Yakima, Wash.-based union federation.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $143,489 plus a $100 fine.  Nelson had pleaded guilty last September after being charged in April.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Machinists Secretary in Oklahoma Charged; Pleads Guilty

On January 12, Kathleen Smith, former financial-treasurer of International Association of Machinists Lodge 850 and the Oklahoma State Council of Machinists, both based in Oklahoma City, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma with one count of embezzling $18,658 in union funds.  She then pleaded guilty.  The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

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