Few observers gave Janett Humphries much of a chance when she decided to take her case to trial. In the end, even she didn’t give herself much of a chance. On November 13, the 63-year-old former president of Service Employees International Union Local 99 pleaded guilty in federal court to charges she had embezzled more than $30,000 from her union to help finance Martin Ludlow’s successful 2003 run for Los Angeles City Council. She used the funds to pay for travel expenses and a cell phone for Ludlow’s campaign staff, plus personal air travel costs. Ludlow stepped down from his council post in 2005 to head the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, but pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge early this year. Sentencing for Humphries is set for next February. She already has pleaded guilty to separate local charges. (Associated Press, … Read More ➡
As a New York City power broker, Brian McLaughlin had few equals. He was both a union leader and a politician who played at the highest levels, adept at courting allies to win favors. And he knew how to take care of his people, including members of his original union, Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. But in the roughly eight months since the FBI raided his two offices, fears that he was bent have proven true – at least say federal prosecutors in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act indictment. As they say in baseball, “Say it ain’t so.”
McLaughlin, 54, a seven-term Democrat from Queens in the New York State Assembly and since 1995 president of the 400-union, AFL-CIO-chartered New York City Central Labor Council (CLC), was arrested on October 17 on a host of racketeering charges. McLaughlin allegedly lined his pockets with … Read More ➡
Labor leaders have been called many names, but “naive” hasn’t been among the more common of them. Yet Janett Humphries, formerly one of Los Angeles’ more powerful union officials, made naivete her prime line of defense in her recent criminal trial. Humphries for more than a decade had been president of Service Employees International Union Local 99. She enjoyed close ties to Martin Ludlow, a former Los Angeles City Council Member and also ex-head of the 825,000-member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Those ties proved too close. Federal prosecutors early this year charged Humphries, 63, with misusing her office to provide financial aid to Ludlow’s successful 2003 city council election campaign. Ludlow pleaded guilty this March to conspiracy to divert union funds to the campaign. Humphries chose to take her federal case to trial; she pleaded guilty to two separate local charges. In light of her recent testimony, she … Read More ➡
It was June 1, 1999, and the Wall Street bull market was going full steam. The Colombo crime family of New York believed it was about to strike gold: unlimited access to the pension fund of Local 400 of the Industrial & Production Workers Union, worth at the time an estimated $50 million. It was all but a done deal. A potential rival, local vice-president and reputed Colombo family underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo (in photo, upper left-hand corner), mysteriously had disappeared less than a week earlier. Local 400 President John Gannone was at the union’s midtown Manhattan office. He was accompanied by stockbroker Frank Persico, a first cousin of acting Colombo boss Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico. They wanted documents revealing names of all principals connected to the fund. The only thing standing in the way of the family’s big payday was Kathleen Joseph, the fund administrator. But that obstacle … Read More ➡
Compared to the estimated $14.6 billion tab (and counting) to complete Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Project, a/k/a “the Big Dig,” the $25,000 or so that Scott Boidi stole was a tiny fraction. But the former business manager of Tunnel Workers Local 88, an affiliate of the Laborers International Union of North America, received little in the way of courtroom sympathy. On October 13, a federal jury, after a 12-day trial, convicted Boidi on six counts related to the project’s construction. He had been indicted last year on nine counts of criminal activity taking place between 1994 and 2002.
The indictment alleged that Boidi, who served as Local 88 business manager during June 1991-May 2002, embezzled more than $25,000 from the union. He obtained it by writing a check to himself for $16,000, charging $1,800 for personal use of a rental car, and stealing $7,500 in union … Read More ➡
The process of meting out justice to the racket that was the Washington Teachers Union (WTU) under now-imprisoned former President Barbara Bullock is in the final stage. Four of the participants learned their fate in federal court last month. Their convictions would seem to be the culmination of four years of revelations of greed and treachery at the Washington, D.C. affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.
Arguably the most important of the four guilty defendants was Michael Martin. On October 12, Martin, son-in-law of former Executive Assistant Gwendolyn Hemphill, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to six months in prison, to be followed by three years probation, for his role in the massive embezzlement scheme that defrauded the union out of around $4.6 million during 1995-2002. Martin pled guilty back in April 2003 to laundering union funds. Aided by “partner” Errol Alderman, he’d set … Read More ➡
“Going out golfing and getting paid for it” was how Michael “Mickey” Annucci described the requirements of his job. He spoke prematurely. Annucci, 54, an organizer and shop steward for Local 157 of New York’s United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, had embezzled at least $10,000 from his union, according to an indictment by a Manhattan federal grand jury unsealed in mid October. The sum represents wages, pension and health benefits denied to members because of Annucci’s time-sheet underreporting.
Annucci was a shop steward for five years at a Madison Avenue building where L&D Installers had a contract to install furniture. Each week the L&D foremen prepared a computer spreadsheet showing actual hours worked by Carpenters union members, according to an affidavit by a U.S. Department of Labor investigator. The company owners, with Annucci’s full cooperation, reviewed the spreadsheet and decided which hours … Read More ➡
On October 10, David Taylor, former financial secretary for Carpenters Local 1402, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of making false statements on the union’s reporting form. The statements were part of a scheme to cover up his embezzlement of $72,422 in union funds. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 10/31/06).
Ex-Boss of Connecticut Union Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
On September 28, Andrew Konspore, former treasurer of the Northeast Emergency Services Union, pleaded guilty in federal court for the District of Connecticut to one count of embezzlement of union funds of a sum between $70,000 and $120,000 during the period January 2001 through December 2004. The guilty plea follows a Labor Department investigation. The independent union represents emergency personnel at American Medical Response (in New Haven) … Read More ➡
When Congress sent a seaport security bill to President Bush’s desk a few weeks ago, supporters were enthusiastic that our nation was giving top priority to a previously neglected area of national security. Shipping terminals and cargo containers, they noted, are ideal places where terrorists, with some inside help, could place a bomb, possibly of mass destruction. President George W. Bush, at the October 13 signing ceremony of the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006, also known as the SAFE Port Act, expressed the need for the law this way: “Our seaports are a gateway to commerce, a source of opportunity, and a provider of jobs. Our ports could also be a target of a terrorist attack, and we’re determined to protect them.” The law, however, may be more significant for what it leaves out than for what it includes. And what the bill leaves out, thanks … Read More ➡
Teachers’ unions and sponsors of teachers’ union retirement plans have enjoyed a close relationship over the years – too close, in fact, for New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. And the recent consent decree engineered by Spitzer will force that relationship into the open. It’s a mixed blessing. On October 9, Spitzer announced that his office and the Dutch-based investment company, ING Groep NV, had come to a $30 million settlement over allegations that ING’s payments to teachers’ unions to steer retirement funds its way overstepped the bounds of legality. ING paid as much as $3 million annually in fees to the New York State United Teachers, with more than a half-million members. The restitution plan covers as many as 66,000 teachers in New York State (outside New York City) and another 5,000 state workers in New Hampshire. While neither admitting nor denying guilt, ING will pay at least … Read More ➡