To the titans of Silicon Valley, November 8, 2016 was a date that forever shall live in infamy. The election of Donald Trump as president posed an unprecedented threat to their campaign to transform America into a permanent global sanctuary. Information technology leaders have been on the warpath since President Trump’s January 27 90-day ban on immigration and refugee entry from seven terrorist-sponsoring (or terrorist-controlled) Muslim-majority nations, an executive order nixed a week later by a Seattle federal judge. That ruling triggered a quick appeal by the administration, and just as quickly, an amicus brief submitted to the appeals court by around 100 tech executives in support of the lower court ruling. Significant as the immigration angle is, another and perhaps less recognized issue looms: the willful transformation of corporations into a de facto branch of the federal government.
With increasing commitment, U.S. corporations over the last few decades have … Read More ➡
On January 30, Keith Christopherson, former business manager for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 34, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to four months of incarceration, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for embezzling funds from the St. Paul-based union. He also was ordered to pay $67,714 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Christopherson had pleaded guilty in August to one count of embezzlement after being charged in an information in July with stealing the far lower figure of $2,081. Former local financial secretary Scot McNamara also was charged in July; he pleaded guilty in December to embezzling $8,871. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On January, 26, Michael Schofield, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 1046, entered an amended guilty plea in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to embezzlement of $31,850 from the Plainfield, Ill.-based union. In the latest action, which vacates his guilty plea last June to one count of falsifying financial records, Schofield pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making an unauthorized loan. Sentencing is set for March 21. The earlier and current plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On January 26, Carmen Martinez, former treasurer of Bet Tzedek Legal Service Union Local 946, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of embezzling funds from the Los Angeles union in the amount of $19,070. AFSCME Local 946, along with its sister union, Local 800, has a collective bargaining agreement (and a barely sustainable one at that) with Bet Tzedek, a progressive-oriented nonprofit affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On January 25, Ashley Cline, former office manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 155, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho for embezzling more than $37,000 in funds from the Idaho Falls-based union. She then pleaded guilty. Sentencing is scheduled for April 20. The indictment and plea follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Louis Smith won’t have to spend much in the way of prison time, but he will have to spend a lot more money. On January 24, Smith, former president of the New York City-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one year in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for taking kickbacks as part of a conspiracy to fleece two union benefit plans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He also was ordered to forfeit $151,481 in assets on top of the $213,264 he already had paid in restitution. Smith, along with Johnnie Miranti, an officer with Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, had pleaded guilty in August. The pair, along with Miranti’s father, had been indicted in July 2015 following a joint probe by the FBI, the U.S. Labor … Read More ➡
On January 25, John Kauffman Jr., former president of National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local Lodge 1442, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one month in prison, to be followed by seven months of home confinement, for mail fraud against the Chambersburg, Pa. union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $22,062. Kauffman had been charged last September, and pleaded guilty immediately thereafter. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Robert Smith III saw his union as a free ATM machine for his personal expenses. His next few years are going to be costly. On February 2, Smith, former business agent and financial secretary of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 970, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 41 months in prison, to be followed by three years of probation for embezzling more than $1 million in funds from the Norfolk-based union. He had pleaded guilty last October following an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Smith, now 49, a resident of Virginia Beach, ran the finances of ILA Local 970 whose members work the docks and terminals at Port of Virginia. In addition to representing workers, unfortunately, he also was stealing from them. According to prosecutors, during March 2006-April 2016 Smith deposited new member initiation fees … Read More ➡
Anthony Frederick Sr. used his union as a private bank to fund various projects. For now, his only project is incarceration. Two days ago, on February 7, Frederick, former business manager of Laborers International Union of North America Local 657, was sentenced in District of Columbia federal court to four years in prison, and ordered to pay full restitution, for embezzling more than $1.7 million from the formerly Washington, D.C.-based union, which represents about 1,650 workers in Washington, D.C. and several surrounding Maryland and Virginia counties. Frederick had pleaded guilty on November 1. Two other persons, Gary Cooper and Christopher Kwegan, also were convicted in the scheme, the result of a probe by the FBI and the Labor Department.
Union Corruption Update twice has reported on this case. Frederick, now 50, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Md., had served as LIUNA Local 657 business manager for about a decade. But … Read More ➡
Teachers unions across the U.S. for over two decades have opposed initiatives to expand choice for parents of public school children. In some states, opposition has fallen flat. On January 18, the Florida Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO, lost its bid to win legal standing before the State Supreme Court in challenging a state tax credit scholarship program for low-income elementary and secondary students. The association, aided by a number of co-plaintiffs, had alleged that the nonprofit-managed program diverts funds from public schools to private schools and thus deprives students who remain in public schools of their right to receive a decent education. The ruling thus ends the union appeal process.
School choice has been prominent on the policy radar screen since the early 90s. It rests on the conviction that public school student performance, often substandard in low-income schools, can be boosted … Read More ➡