LIUNA Ex-Chief of Staff Indicted for Embezzlement

As if Roderick Bennett didn’t have enough legal problems, now he’s got some more. On January 18, Bennett, former chief of staff at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), was indicted by a District of Columbia federal grand jury on three counts of embezzlement from the union totaling at least $170,000 and two counts of health care fraud against a union-sponsored health care plan. These charges follow an information count in November charging him with theft in the sum of $141,335. A Florida attorney, Aimee Occhetti, also was indicted with Bennett for health care fraud. The latest charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Roderick Bennett, if nothing else, was well-paid during his four-year tenure as LIUNA chief of staff. For each of 2014 and 2015, his last … Read More ➡

UGSOA Local Secretary in Ohio Pleads Guilty to Theft; Sentenced

On January 23, Elizabeth Merrill, former secretary-treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 251, pleaded guilty in Hamilton County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas to one count of attempted theft and one count of attempted forgery from the Cincinnati-based union. She then was sentenced to 180 days in jail (suspended) and one year of probation, and was given a $100 fine. Merrill had been indicted last October in connection with the disappearance of $1,051 in union funds. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Government Employees President in Kansas Indicted for Embezzlement

On February 7, Robert Clearwater, former president of National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local 14-8, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on one count of embezzlement in the amount of $11,681 and six counts of making false statements in the financial records of the Topeka-based union to conceal the thefts. NAGE is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Arkansas Steelworkers Secretary Charged with Embezzlement; Pleads Guilty

On February 13, Pamela Noble, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 6904, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas with one count of embezzling funds from the Little Rock union in the amount of $43,274.97. She then pleaded guilty. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Carpenters Comptroller in Michigan Sentenced for $500K Theft

On February 6, Glenn Robert Smith, former comptroller for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCC), was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Detroit-based labor organization. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the sum of $534,097. Smith had pleaded guilty last October after being charged with embezzling $499,097 in MRCC funds in July 2015. The actions follow a joint investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Oklahoma Woman Sentenced for $450K+ Ripoff of Operating Engineers Benefits

Some people don’t learn from experience. Susan Tyson seems to be one of them. On January 23, Tyson, former bookkeeper for an Oklahoma City firm, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to three years in prison for stealing $467,352.43 from a benefit plan sponsored by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 627. She also was ordered to pay $309,996 in restitution, a sum reflecting her previous repayment of more than $150,000 held in escrow. Tyson had pleaded guilty last June after being charged earlier that month in an information count. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, and various state and local law enforcement agencies.

Susan Michelle Tyson, now 51, a resident of Yukon, Oklahoma, worked as a bookkeeper for Zenith American Solutions, Inc., an Oklahoma City-based company which managed … Read More ➡

NYC-Area Teamster Council Is Now a ‘Sanctuary Union’; Defies Immigration Law

It’s official: The Teamsters are involved in organized crime. No, it’s not the Old School variety, where the union farms out its dirty work to the Mafia. It’s the kind where the union subverts immigration law and calls it social justice. And it might succeed. Earlier this month, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, representing about 120,000 workers mainly in the New York City area, sponsored a series of seminars on how to thwart Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workplace raids for the purpose of arresting unauthorized immigrants. The campaign, supported by the AFL-CIO, follows a council resolution of last September. Council President George Miranda stated then: “Our members can be confident that we stand behind them 100 percent regardless of where they were born or what kinds of papers they have.”

For years, labor unions in this country have been trying to rewrite immigration law. Back in April … Read More ➡

Machinists Secretary in Maine Sentenced for Embezzlement

Ryan Jones pushed his luck too far. Now he’s about to experience the downside. Two days ago, February 12, Jones, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge S6, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $280,000 in funds from the union, which represents a large number of employees at the Bath Iron Works shipbuilding facility. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Jones had pleaded guilty last September after being indicted in August. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Bath local police.

Jones, now 35, a resident of Bath, had served as secretary-treasurer of his union from 2009 until January 2017, when he failed to win re-election. According to prosecutors, he … Read More ➡

Ex-Chrysler Executive, UAW Official Widow Plead Guilty in Training Fund Scandal

Al Iacobelli was generous to a fault, especially come bargaining time. Prosecutors were unimpressed. On January 22, Iacobelli, a former vice president of Fiat Chrysler, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to conspiracy and tax fraud, part of a scheme in which he diverted an estimated $1.5 million from a Chrysler-United Auto Workers training center to himself and others. A little over two weeks later, on February 6, Monica Morgan, widow of the late UAW vice president General Holifield, pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Iacobelli and Morgan had been indicted last summer along with ex-Chrysler official Jerome Durden and ex-union negotiator Virdell King. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update has covered this scandal since the handing down of the initial indictments last July (see … Read More ➡

North Dakota Heat and Frost Insulators Business Manager Pleads Guilty

On January 24, John Bickerstaff, former treasurer and business manager of International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 133, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota to one count of embezzling funds from the Bismarck-based union in the sum of $91,223. Bickerstaff had been charged in September 2016 with one count of embezzling $70,659, plus one count each of filing a false financial report and concealing records. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡