By law, managers of employer-sponsored pension plans must act in the best interests of investors. Unfortunately, many such fiduciaries are applying an unusually broad definition. That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor has clarified the issue. On April 23, the DOL released a guidance statement intended to discourage benefit managers from applying the principle known as Environmental, Social and Governance to investment decisions. Such a practice might seem worthy, noted the department, but it may place safety and soundness in harm’s way. The action is especially a rebuke to those who see issues advocacy as a top business priority.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), alternately known as Corporate Social Responsibility, is a philosophy holding that a corporation is not only a business enterprise, but also a steward of the public good. A company, in this view, can and should be at once profitable and morally conscious. A company must … Read More ➡
On April 25, Steven Minella, ex-president/business agent of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to pay $38,000 in restitution to the Detroit-area union for failure to report a crime committed by someone else (misprision). That someone else was his predecessor, John Hamilton, who embezzled over $70,000 from his re-election campaign war chest in 2012. Hamilton, who pleaded guilty last August to extortion and embezzlement, distributed the money in roughly equal amounts to Minella and David Hart, Minella’s now-convicted chief of staff. Minella had pleaded guilty in September 2015. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.… Read More ➡
Ann Reddig still might be confused as to why she stole from her union, but she’ll at least have time to think about it. On April 11, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Reddig, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 918, had been sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling nearly $200,000 in funds from the Anchorage union. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the sum of $139,960.66. Reddig had pleaded guilty in September after being charged last June following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to prosecutors, Reddig, now 63, during January 2010-September 2014 “embezzled, stole and unlawfully and willfully abstracted and converted to her own use, or the use of another” $193,275.52 from the union, which for several years … Read More ➡
On April 20, Wendy Buch, former secretary-treasurer for Transportation Communications Union (TCU) Local Lodge T-574, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to five years of probation for embezzling funds from the Shiloh, Ill. union. She also was ordered to pay $11,957.34 in restitution and a $150 special assessment. Buch had pleaded guilty last December to embezzlement and concealment. TCU is affiliated with the International Association of Machinists. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On April 24, Robert Clearwater, former president of National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local 14-8, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $11,681 and six counts of concealing the thefts in financial records of the Topeka-based union. Clearwater had been indicted in February. NAGE is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
In the case of Tshombe Anderson, ripping off the Department of Labor was a family affair. So is incarceration. On April 19, Anderson, a Dallas-based union lawyer and owner of a number of medical supply companies, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to 10 years in prison for his role as chief organizer in a scam that fraudulently obtained worker’s compensation benefits. He also was ordered to pay $26,572,458.93 in restitution. Anderson had pleaded guilty last August to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Deemed a flight risk, he’s been in custody since his August 2015 arrest. Three family members are awaiting sentencing. The actions follow a probe by the Offices of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Postal Service.
The saga of Tshombe Anderson, whose roots lay in Zimbabwe, overlaps with a similar one from … Read More ➡
On April 19, Kenneth Evans, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Local Branch 1494, was charged in Williams County (North Dakota) District Court with theft in an amount of between $3,500 and $3,600 from the Williston-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
As a player in the scandal, Keith Mickens was a minor figure. But his conviction is satisfying to prosecutors all the same. On April 5, Mickens, a former United Auto Worker official, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to conspiracy for helping to funnel UAW-Chrysler National Training Center payments to union officials in return for the union dropping certain collective bargaining issues. He, like the other defendants, also spent portions of the payoffs on personal items. Mickens is the sixth person to be charged, and the fifth to be convicted, in the $4.5 million scheme, which broke wide open last July. The latest action follows 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 Corruption Update has given regular coverage to this web of deceit that has caused genuine … Read More ➡
Jo-Anne Micheletti won’t be seeking a job with her union in the future. And members probably won’t be missing her either. On March 14, Micheletti, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1339, pleaded no contest in Providence, R.I. Superior Court to misdemeanor larceny of funds during 2014-16 from the union, which represents Providence public school clerical workers. She already had paid $1,129 in restitution. She had been charged last August with embezzling $6,946 after being arrested by state police that April. As part of the plea deal, she agreed not to seek employment at Local 1339 in the future.… Read More ➡
Creative borrowing for the purpose of covering casino gambling losses has claimed another union leader. And the losses weren’t small change. On April 12, Mervin Hawk, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1640, was charged in a one-count information in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with embezzling more than $600,000 in funds from the Detroit-based union over at least a two-year period. Four days later, at his arraignment, Hawk requested a court-appointed lawyer. The charge follows a joint investigation by the FBI, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Mervin Hawk during 2013-15 was president of AFSCME Local 1640, which represents area social workers. According to court records, he used his authority during this time and beyond to withdraw local funds for purposes entirely unrelated to union business. Most of all, … Read More ➡