Detroit Operating Engineers Boss Pleads Guilty to Extortion

Several years ago, John Hamilton was one of the reasons why large sums of Detroit public employee pension funds found their way into the pockets of that city’s public officials, including now-imprisoned Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. But he’s currently facing some serious time of his own. On August 18, Hamilton, former business manager and general vice president of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. He had been indicted on nine counts for numerous offenses in December 2015. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Union Corruption Update back in February 2016 summarized the unfortunate series of events leading up to the indictment. John Hamilton, a resident of Florida these past several years, was … Read More ➡

Civilian Technicians President in Washington State Sentenced

On August 28, Casey Cortese, former president of Association of Civilian Technicians Local Chapter 108, was sentenced in the Superior Court of Pierce County, Wash. to 240 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,514 for theft of funds from the Tacoma-area union. Cortese had pleaded guilty in May after being indicted in March. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Chicago Union Boss, a Reputed Mobster, Indicted for Social Security Fraud

John Matassa lived in the overlapping worlds of organized labor and organized crime. He slipped up when he tried to retire. On May 25, Matassa, secretary-treasurer of the Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on 10 criminal counts related to his applying for and receiving Social Security benefits under fraudulent pretenses. According to various investigators and witnesses in other cases, the defendant is a made man in the Chicago Mafia, better known as “the Outfit.” The indictment follows an investigation by the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department. At his arraignment the following week, Matassa pleaded not guilty to all counts. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly set him free without having to post bail.

John “Pudgy” Matassa Jr., now 65, a resident of Arlington Heights, Ill., was a union official with a past. Until the late … Read More ➡

SMART President in Washington State Sentenced for Embezzlement

On August 29, Pascale McAtee, former president of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 161, Transportation Division, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to five months in prison, to be followed by three years of probation, for embezzling more than $82,000 in funds from the Everett (Snohomish County), Wash.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $73,583 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. McAtee had pleaded guilty in April after being indicted last December. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer in Denver Sentenced for Embezzlement

On August 23, Violent Lamorie, former secretary-treasurer for American Federation of Government Employees Local 695, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to 10 months of home confinement and five years of probation for embezzling $71,430 from the Denver union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Lamorie had pleaded guilty last November after being charged in October. The union represents employees of the Denver U.S. Mint plant. The actions follow a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Official Pleads Guilty to Role in Chrysler Training Fund Scandal

In the overall scheme of things, Virdell King was a minor figure. But the evidence of her guilt was compelling all the same. On August 29, Ms. King, a former contract negotiator for the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy related to her diverting tens of thousands of dollars from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center to her own use and the use of others. She had been charged on August 11. The two principals in the case, Monica Morgan, widow of late UAW Vice President General Holiefield, and Alphons Iaocbelli, a former Chrysler vice president and labor negotiator, were indicted in July for their roles in the $1.2 million scam. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union … Read More ➡

LIUNA Treasurer in Central California Sentenced for Theft

On August 21, Edward Padilla, former secretary-treasurer/business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 220, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to 21 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling $168,780 in funds from the Bakersfield-based union during September 2012-December 2014. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Padilla had been charged in early March, and pleaded guilty near the end of the month. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

NYC-Area Production Workers Business Manager Pleads Guilty to Extortion

Who’s the meanest person in New York City-area organized labor? The competition is tough, but the winner might be Roland Bedwell. On August 8, Bedwell, business manager for United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to attempting to shake down a nonunion paving contractor several years ago. The offense was part of a mobster-enforced union pattern of blocking work sites, assaulting workers and coaxing builders into awarding contracts to the Roslyn Heights (Long Island), N.Y. local. The plea follows a probe by the FBI, the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and the NYPD. FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr. remarked: “The subject in this case bragged he should be in prison for his crimes. Now that’s exactly where he’s headed.”

United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, an affiliate of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades (IUJAT), has a “bad boy” … Read More ➡

White House Shelves Coercive Obama-Era Gender ‘Pay Gap’ Rule

“Equal pay for equal work” – the phrase has a nice ring to it. But like other unsound egalitarian ideas, this one hasn’t earned the hype. And the Trump administration recognizes as much. On August 29, the White House announced it was temporarily blocking an Obama-era rule from taking effect that would require businesses with at least 100 employees to report payroll data by sex to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Defending the move, the Office of Management and Budget noted that parts of the rule “lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” Supporters are outraged, and no more so than at President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, supposedly their ally. Such critics, true to form, are overlooking some practical economic realities.

Pay discrimination by sex has been illegal in this country for more than half-century. And the strictures have become increasingly detailed. In … Read More ➡

AFSCME Local President in Baltimore Indicted for Theft

On August 2, Sophia Love, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2751, was indicted in the Circuit Court for the City of Baltimore, Maryland on one count of theft of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000 from the Baltimore union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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