RICO Suit Could Mean Long-Term Federal Control Over Longshoremen

On the surface, life at International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) headquarters in Manhattan hasn’t changed all that much.  But the seeming normalcy doesn’t disguise the fact that the union’s longstanding alleged ties to two Mafia families are about to be exposed wide open.  On July 6, Justice Department lawyers filed a massive civil RICO lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.  Prosecutors, in their words, seek to end “the conspiracy among union officials, organized crime figures and others that has plagued some of the nation’s most important ports for decades.”  The lawsuit alleges that the Genovese and Gambino crime families control the docks at the ports of New York-New Jersey and Miami, and that the mobsters have used that influence to curry favor with the international union and put their people in charge of member benefit programs.


ILA President John Bowers, his top aides, and union attorney Howard W. Read More ➡

AFL-CIO Split May Have Little Effect on Corruption

People saw it coming a mile away.  The Teamsters’ James P. Hoffa and the Service Employees’ Andrew Stern each made good on their threats to take their unions out of the AFL-CIO at the start of that labor federation’s 50th anniversary convention in Chicago.  In the process, they and several other dissenting unions have left observers wondering if the fortunes of organized labor have been irrevocably damaged.  While that’s a possibility, the most likely long-run outcome probably will be the opposite.  Indeed, unions may emerge with more members, revenues and political clout.  As for battling corruption, they don’t seem to view this as a high-priority item.  But this requires some context.   And the context is the convention.      


Populism ran deep, proud and far to the left inside the large air-conditioned convention hall along Chicago’s Navy Pier Monday through Thursday, July 25-28.  There was no mistaking the left Read More ➡

Genovese Boss, 19 Others Arrested for Various Crimes

Age is no obstacle when it comes to running a business, especially when it’s a Genovese crime family business.  Apparently it’s no obstacle to getting arrested either.  Matty “the Horse” Ianniello, a longtime Genovese capo, knows the lesson as well as anyone.  On Thursday, July 28, federal agents and local police arrested Ianniello and 19 other alleged members and associates on extortion, loansharking and other charges.  Ianniello, 85, who at one point allegedly served as acting family boss following the conviction of Vincent “the Chin” Gigante (see photo), was still active.  “Don’t let age fool you,” said FBI Agent Matt Heron.  “He’s still an influential player in the Genovese family.”


The family has been playing hard these past several years.  The federal indictment leading to the arrest alleges that Genovese members, led by Ianniello, infiltrated the Queens, N.Y.-based Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus drivers.  Read More ➡

Former Benefits Fund Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement

Robert Cataldo couldn’t stay out of prison forever. Back in August 2003, the ex-finance director for the health and retirements funds for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, had pleaded guilty in New York for embezzling $1.36 million from the funds. Nearly two years later, on Thursday, July 21, he got his due from U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald: a 37-month prison sentence, plus mandatory restitution and two years’ probation upon release. Cataldo was responsible for financial and accounting processes. After his arrest, fund trustees announced they had commissioned a study by independent auditors to identify and implement procedures to prevent future thefts of this sort. (Daily Variety, 7/22).   Read More ➡

Homeland Security Employees Official Charged with Theft

Diane Sampson thought she could put one over the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  It was a bad mistake.  On July 19, Ms. Sampson, a native of Guyana, was suspended without pay after being charged with the theft of more than $23,000 from her union, the Federal Protection Service Labor Committee, an affiliate of the Fraternal Order of Police.  The group represents employees of the Federal Protective Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Sampson’s job was to prepare union financial reports, documenting all expenses and income.  But federal authorities allege that she did other things not specified in her job title – like writing union checks and making ATM union credit-card withdrawals to finance trips to Guyana, shopping excursions, and appointments at the beauty salon.  Court documents also accuse her of lying on documents to cover up Read More ➡

Ex-California Treasurer Accused of Embezzlement

On June 30, William Harry Good, Jr., former financial secretary-treasurer of Machinists Local Lodge 821, was charged in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, with embezzling $1,500 in union funds.  But in this case, a little smoke has revealed a lot of fire.  The sum represents just one of 229 union checks, collectively worth more than $192,000, that Good allegedly misappropriated.  The indictment comes after a joint investigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) and its Office of Inspector General.  (OLMS, 7/21).       


Nebraska Ex-Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

On July 7, in U.S. District Court for Nebraska, Terry L. Gloe, former treasurer for Local 11 of the American Postal Workers Union, was sentenced to six months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release, with a special condition of six months of home confinement.  He also Read More ➡

Mob-Controlled Longshoremen Leadership Hit with RICO Suit

The bosses who’ve been running the International Longshoremen’s Association have led a charmed life – or at least a good imitation of one. For several decades the union has had a devil’s pact with the Genovese and Gambino crime families: We’ll install your guys in key positions; you make sure nobody else walks on our turf. At the New York, New Jersey and Port of Miami waterfronts, in particular, it’s been hard to tell where organized labor and organized crime actually differ. But it’s an arrangement whose end now may be near.


On Wednesday, July 6, federal prosecutors filed an 83-page civil RICO lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., charging that the Longshoremen’s union and various benefit programs are Mafia-controlled. The suit seeks the permanent removal of four of the ILA’s six top officials: John Bowers, international president; Albert Cernadas, executive vice president; Robert Gleason, secretary-treasurer; and Harold Read More ➡

More Witnesses Testify in D.C. Teachers Union Scandal

The trial of three persons connected with the massive embezzlement and money-laundering scandal at the Washington Teachers Union (WTU), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, resumed after the holiday weekend, with some key testimony for the prosecution from shady characters. Given that high-living ex-president Barbara Bullock and several other defendants already have pleaded guilty, it’s a stretch to figure out why the remaining three defendants – office manager Gwendolyn Hemphill, financial manager James Baxter II, and outside accountant James Goosby – haven’t copped a plea as well. Bullock currently is serving a nine-year prison sentence.


The first to take the witness stand, on July 5, was one Errol Alderman, a close friend of Michael Martin and the son-in-law of Hemphill. Alderman, 30, established a shell company, Expressions Unlimited, on behalf of Martin. He defended his action as a favor to Martin, 45, to avoid the appearance of a Read More ➡

Father and Son Novelty Workers in New Jersey Sentenced for Embezzlement

noveltiesFor a half-decade, father and son discovered how profitable stealing from a garment workers union could be.  Joseph Nardone Sr., 80, is the founder and (retired) president of International Novelty and Production Workers Local 148 in Jersey City, N.J., while his son, Joseph Jr., 51, had been president and administrator of the local’s welfare fund.  The pair had been convicted last November in federal court on conspiracy and embezzlement charges.  At their sentencing hearing of July 8 they found out their ways will carry a high price tag.

The Nardones were indicted in October 2002 for conspiracy to embezzle more than $350,000 from a union welfare fund in order to cover a scheme to inflate contractor project costs in the building the local occupies.  The developer with whom they conspired, Stanley Rothman, already has pleaded guilty.  The Nardones were convicted last November following a six-week trial; various other Local 148 Read More ➡

Labor Department Sues N.W. Indiana Pension Trustees

A sweetheart land deal continues to produce heartaches for those involved.  On June 30 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sued six persons involved with a decision by the Northwest Indiana Regional Council of Carpenters Trust Fund to invest $10 million in a major real estate development near Chesterton, Ind.  Back in 1998 the pension board had voted to approve the purchase, at an inflated price, of a 55-acre tract of land in the 640-acre Coffee Creek planned community in Chesterton, Ind.  Now the Labor Department wants Gerry Nannenga and other trustees refund all losses incurred in the deal.  The suit also names former Indiana Democratic Chairman Peter Manous, Kevin Pastrick and C. Paul Ihle as defendants.  They, along with Nannenga, were convicted last year on federal corruption charges.  Nannenga had taken a $45,000 bribe from Pastrick and Manous to vote for the purchase.Read More ➡

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