Ripping off union benefits is big business. In the case of Yashvant Patel, that wasn’t even half the story. On August 11, Patel, a Chicago-based contractor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to mail fraud and financial concealment in connection with defrauding employees out of about $600,000 scheduled benefits and $1.3 million in wages. Many if not most of the shortchanged workers were residing illegally in this country. Patel had sought to escape the terms of a bargaining agreement with affiliates of the Laborers International Union of North America. He was arrested in May 2015 and indicted by a grand jury that August on four counts each of mail fraud and false statements. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Yashvant Patel, now in his early 60s, a resident of St. Charles, Ill., owned … Read More ➡
Given the sum that he took, Harold Gilberson should consider himself lucky. On November 29, Gilberson, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 127, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming to embezzling $179,052 in funds from the Casper-based union. The local represents employees at three Wyoming power plants, and associated transmission lines, owned by PacificCorp. The charge and guilty plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Harold Gilberson, now 63, an employee at a power plant near Rock Springs, had served as president of Utility Workers Local 127 during 2002-15. During the last four years of this period, he allegedly charged a large number of personal items to his union credit card and then falsified union expense reports to conceal the thefts. Eventually, a Labor Department probe revealed that the fund shortfall was the result of his … Read More ➡
Michael Bennett wrote lots of checks to himself. And his union unknowingly picked up the tab until it realized what was going on. On November 21, Bennett, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2317, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to one count of wire fraud in excess of $100,000 against the Lafayette, Ind.-based union. He had been indicted this August. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
UAW Local 2317 represents about 700 employees at the Fairfield Manufacturing plant in Lafayette. According to federal prosecutors, Bennett, who headed the union during 2006-15, forged the signature of the local treasurer on about 170 checks to cover nonexistent “travel expenses.” Having forged the checks, he either cashed them or deposited them into his own account. He also rented out the union hall for outside functions, but without … Read More ➡
On November 22, Wanda Rosenboro-Correa, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2798, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of theft of funds from the Washington, D.C. union in the amount of $13,803. She had been indicted in August. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On November 17, David Maddy, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 2339, was charged in Rush County, Indiana Circuit Court with one count of theft of funds in the amount of $37,197 from the Rushville union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On November 17, Brian Scott, former president and business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 503, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of mail fraud against the Monroe (Orange County), N.Y.-based union. He had been hit with a superseding indictment in August on one count each of embezzlement, mail fraud and false reporting following his arrest in February and an earlier indictment the previous October. Scott, now a resident of Miami Beach, Fla., had been accused of making unauthorized charges from union accounts totaling $66,954 during the period July 2008-February 2012. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On November 10, Bob Buford, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2419, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud in the amount of more than $128,000 against the Danville, Ill.-based union. He had been indicted this March following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Local 2419 represents workers at the Danville assembly plant of FreightCar America.… Read More ➡
As the Obama era makes its exit, many recent regulations also may be on their way out as well. Among them: a Department of Labor rule that would expand eligibility for overtime pay for over four million currently salaried workers. On November 22, a Texas federal court, in response to challenges filed by 21 states and several business groups, issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement. “The State Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits because the Final Rule exceeds the Department’s authority,” concluded the court. Should the DOL not appeal, either the Trump-led DOL will withdraw the rule or the new Congress will repeal it. Either way, employees and employers would be better off. Had the rule gone into effect as scheduled on December 1, some unwelcome problems would have erupted.
Union Corruption Update has analyzed the overtime regulation and its likely consequences on three previous occasions. … Read More ➡
The violence may be a memory, but there is now a welcome reminder of the consequences. Last Thursday, December 8, a St. Louis County, Mo. jury found a young black male, Jeffrey Williams, guilty on six criminal counts related to the malicious gun wounding of two unnamed police officers in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in March 2015. The incident occurred during a street rally organized by the radical social media network, Black Lives Matter, to protest the shooting death of an “unarmed” black male, Michael Brown, by a white Ferguson cop the previous August. A grand jury months later had decided the evidence was insufficient to indict the officer, an announcement that triggered destructive rioting. Reprehensible as the rioting and shootings were, the Obama administration tacitly encouraged this behavior.
If any one event underscores the futility of achieving a ‘post-racial’ society in contemporary America, the death of Michael … Read More ➡
In the world of organized labor, debt accumulation all too often leads to embezzlement. Jeffrey Magelitz is a clear-cut case. On Tuesday, December 6, Magelitz, former treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 415, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to two years of probation, six months of home detention and 100 hours of community service for embezzling around $30,000 from the union, which represents employees at the Vienna Correctional Center (Johnson County), Illinois. He had pleaded guilty in August after being indicted last November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Jeffrey Magelitz, now in his mid-40s, a resident of Chester, Ill., for years had provided counseling to inmates at the Vienna facility. Unfortunately, he could have used some debt counseling. He and his wife had accumulated about $225,000 in debt, … Read More ➡