NYC Independent Union Boss Pleads Guilty to $1M+ Ripoff

At one time Rocco Fazzolari had bit parts in low-budget New York City crime movies. Little did people know that for a long time he starred in his own real-life version. Yesterday, on September 26, Fazzolari, former president of United Industrial and Service Employees Union Local 122, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to three counts of embezzlement related to his theft of a combined more than $1.3 million in funds from the New York City-based union and a related benefit plan. Under the terms of the plea agreement, he will forfeit $941,828, pay additional restitution, and refrain from engaging in union-related activity for 13 years. The plea follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

United Industrial and Service Employees Local 122 is a modest-sized independent union. According to tax filings for the year 2017, … Read More ➡

Will Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Campaign Backfire?

Buying a pair of athletic shoes shouldn’t be a political act. But Nike, the world’s largest maker of athletic shoes, thinks otherwise. And it might lose customers as a result. On Thursday evening, September 6, the company aired its widely anticipated two-minute “Just Do It”-themed ad on NBC-TV during the 2018 NFL season opener narrated by Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who two years ago started the ritual “kneel-down” national anthem protests. He remains a factually-challenged moral exhibitionist who has built a cult upon the false claim that local police forces across the nation are murdering innocent blacks. The campaign might boost Nike sales in the short run, but market surveys suggest that it might not end well.

For a man whose name is radioactive around the National Football League, Colin Kaepernick’s career shift is paying off. During the 2016 exhibition season, he chose to kneel rather … Read More ➡

Postal Workers President in South Carolina Charged with Embezzlement

On September 12, Dana Roush, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 403, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $10,089 from the Spartanburg union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Teamster President, Secretary in Southern Illinois Sentenced

Sometimes a marriage can be a partnership in crime. That was the case of Scott and Nancy Alexander. On August 24, the husband and wife, respectively, ex-president and ex-office administrator for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 50, received identical sentences in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois of six months in prison and six months of home confinement, to be followed by three years of probation, for embezzlement and fraud against the Belleville, Ill.-based (near St. Louis) union. They also were ordered to pay $44,576.04 in restitution and a $200 special assessment. The couple had pleaded guilty in May after being indicted in June 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Labor Racketeering.

According to prosecutors, Scott and Nancy Alexander, Belleville residents ages 56 and 52, during January 2012-June 2016 engaged in a wide range … Read More ➡

Ex-Chrysler Executive Sentenced in UAW Training Fund Scandal

As a key figure in the Chrysler-United Auto Workers training fund scandal, Al Iacobelli expected a stiff sentence. And that’s what he got. On August 27, Iacobelli, former vice president of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 66 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release for attempting to bribe certain UAW officers with more than $1.5 million in cash and other things of value in 2015 in hopes of persuading them to drop contract demands, and for embezzling funds for his own use. Iacobelli was ordered to pay $853,522 in restitution, a $10,000 fine and a $100 assessment. He had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted last July. 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.

Alfons “Al” Iacobelli, now 58, a … Read More ➡

Whistleblower Accuses St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Council of Corruption

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners long has had corruption problems. The union’s St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Council might well qualify as its corruption leader. Two years ago, Jonathan Gould, a union member and former compliance officer for the council, filed a civil racketeering suit in Missouri state court accusing council officials of “embezzling money from members to inflate their own pensions and cash in on travel perks for spouses,” plus acts of sexual harassment, assault, drunk driving, and drug abuse. The council, which consists of 34 unions in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois representing about 22,000 members, has responded with a blitz of counterclaims. Matters have yet to be settled.

The roots of this legal tug of war go back several years. Jonathan Gould, a floor tile layer from Edwardsville, Ill. who still describes himself as a “strong union man,” during the summer of 2014 had accepted the nomination … Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local Secretary in Massachusetts Charged with Embezzlement

On August 22, Edgar Barajas, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 4-1702, was charged in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Marlborough District Court, with embezzling about $11,000 in funds from the Marlborough-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

CWA Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On August 20, Diana Brown, ex-financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84807, pleaded guilty in Clark County, Indiana Circuit Court to 10 counts of forgery against the Jeffersonville, Ind. (near Louisville, Ky.) union. She then was sentenced to eight years in jail (six of those years suspended) and six years of probation. Brown had been charged with 10 counts of forgery and one count of theft in July 2015. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Mississippi CWA President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On August 17, Danny Woodcock, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 83770, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to one count of embezzlement of funds from the Columbus, Miss.-based union. He had been indicted last November for stealing more than $300,000 by making unauthorized transfers of several thousand dollars each from the local checking account to his own personal account. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Is Blackmail Being Redefined for Stormy Daniels?

Some of the worst travesties of justice occur when a lawbreaker manages to convince the public that he or she is actually the victim. This, in fact, appears to be the real story behind accusations that Donald Trump violated federal election laws by ordering “hush money” to be paid to stripper/porn star Stormy Daniels during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign to conceal the fact of their one-night stand a decade earlier. The reigning media view is that the $130,000 payment, transacted by President Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen, was a threat and thus a basis for Trump’s impeachment. Far closer to the truth, however, is that Ms. Daniels tried to blackmail Mr. Trump. Her current attempt to nullify a nondisclosure agreement underscores her self-serving motives.

Blackmail, which is closely related to extortion, is illegal. Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 873, states: “Whosoever, under a threat of … Read More ➡