Is it affirmative action or is it crime? Recent revelations of a shakedown racket operating under the cover of a City of New York construction industry minority-hiring program make a compelling case that there’s not much difference between the two. A number of years ago, the City created a program, with the inevitable good intentions, to promote contractor hiring of blacks and other racial minorities. But at least in one case the result was a criminal empire managed with an efficiency and ruthlessness that would have given any Mafia family a good run for its money. Last month, New Yorkers learned something about the price its operators had been exacting.
On September 13, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced the arraignment in New York State Supreme Court of four men who nominally headed minority-hiring “coalitions.” Charged with various counts of racketeering, extortion and larceny … Read More ➡
The ballots for Teamsters general president were mailed out on October 6. After the November 13 deadline for returning ballots, it will be all down to the waiting. Not too many people think Tom Leedham, now on his third try, will defeat incumbent James P. Hoffa, having received 40 percent of the total vote in a three-way race in 1998 and only 35 percent in 2001. But Leedham, 55, thinks this time around Hoffa’s track record will induce a great many among the union’s 1.4 million members to switch sides. In the meantime, Richard W. Mark, the union’s federally-appointed election supervisor, doesn’t think too much of certain people surrounding Hoffa. On October 3, Mark, acting on a complaint by Leedham, ruled that Stephen Mack, Hoffa’s director of industrial trades, had laundered $14,000 of member dues into his boss’s campaign coffers. It’s little coincidence, say Leedham’s people, that Mack’s brother, Chuck … Read More ➡
On September 22, Rachetta Johnson and Charlene Monroe, co-owners of a contracting firm, Electrical Innovations, received identical sentences in Hamilton County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, of five years probation and 500 hours of community service for their roles in defrauding a market recovery fund of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 212. The fund assists union contractors in bidding for jobs against non-union contractors by enabling contractors to collect wage difference. Johnson and Monroe conducted an invoice overpayment scam. During July 2002-December 2003, they billed the local for hours that members hadn’t worked. Earlier in the month, the pair pleaded guilty to theft by deception. At their sentencing, the court also ordered them to pay $26,448 in restitution. Another defendant, Michael Griffie, has been charged with theft of at least $100,000 in property or services.
The union here was the victim rather than the victimizer. Yet it is worth … Read More ➡
On September 26, Lawrence Marable and Deborah Powell, respectively, the former president and treasurer of Local 1793 of the American Federation of Government Employees, were each charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with five counts of property theft, one count of making false record entries, and one count of conspiracy to steal $187,000 worth of property. The local represents employees at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia located at University and Woodland Avenues. The charges follow a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General. (OLMS, 10/9/06).
D.C. Local Ex-President Sentenced for Embezzlement
On September 26, Mary Garner, formerly president of AFGE Local 3653, was sentenced in federal court for the District of Columbia to five years probation, six months of which must be served in home detention, … Read More ➡
Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union is the largest local union in the U.S. Representing more than 275,000 active and retired health care and hospital workers in New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, it collects about $500 per member in annual dues. That added up to about $110 million last year. And while most of that money went into organizing, education and lobbying, a not too shabby portion was routed toward entertainment. An investigative report by Douglas Feiden, published in the September 24 edition of the New York Daily News, revealed that the local spent more than $2 million on parties and out-of-town conferences in 2005. Given that the powerful New York City-based local represents some of the lowest-paid employees in the Northeast, one has to wonder about its priorities.
Nobody will deny this union knows how to have a good time. Dennis Rivera, … Read More ➡
Prosecutors for the State of New York now are finding out how good it feels to get a conviction from its anti-racketeering “enterprise corruption” law. Fittingly, one of New York City’s most corrupt labor unions, Local 8 of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, has broken the ice. On September 19, the Genovese crime family-connected local admitted through its lawyer before the New York State Supreme Court that it was a criminal enterprise. The guilty plea was the culmination of an indictment in July 2004 of the entire local leadership, following a five-year investigation. In addition, a Genovese captain, John Barbato, was sentenced by the court to two to six years in prison for his role in an extortion scheme that enriched Local 8 bosses by $2 million at the expense of rank and file.
It began as extortion and morphed into … Read More ➡
If only Ralph Mabry had been a little more patient about moving into his dream home. Mabry since 1997 had served as executive secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. For most of that time he operated under a cloud of suspicion; the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, starting in 1999, had jointly probed financial irregularities surrounding the construction of Mabry’s $803,000 residence in Grosse Pointe Park. Mabry, along with Council President Anthony Michael, two years ago was indicted for conspiring to obtain a $127,800 discount from contractors under false pretenses. On September 25, standing before U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, Mabry learned his fate: a two-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine. Michael received a one-year, one-day sentence and a $3,000 fine. Both men had been convicted by jury in late February for solicitation and receipt of prohibited payments.
Mabry and Michael … Read More ➡
Things have gone from ugly to uglier at the Riverside Sheriff’s Association (RSA). This past summer, federal prosecutors filed a confidential document in Riverside County, California Superior Court indicating that the FBI and the Labor Department were conducting a joint investigation into the possibility that certain members of the RSA had embezzled money from its legal trust fund. The document inadvertently had been posted on the court Web site before being quickly removed. The latest plot twist came on Thursday, September 28, when armed FBI agents raided the association’s offices in Riverside, looking for clues in the disappearance of more than $100,000 from the union, which represents more than 2,500 deputies and other law enforcement and public safety personnel.
In 2005 a bitter dispute broke out between two men, current Association President Pat McNamara and a former employee, Scott Teutscher, who managed the association’s legal defense fund. Several sheriff’s offices … Read More ➡
Underlying of lot of union embezzlement these days are hard-luck gambling stories. It’s a depressing scenario: A union officer or employee loses his shirt at a casino(s), and tries to cover the losses by writing phony checks, diverting union funds into a secret account, or pulling off some other scheme. Add Michael Iasevoli, an official with a Connecticut local of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), which merged last year with the United Steelworkers, to the list. Iasevoli, 40, a resident of Waterbury and acting financial secretary for PACE Local 745, was sentenced on September 19 in U.S. District Court in New Haven to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He had pleaded guilty in June to one count of embezzling assets from the Wallingford, Conn.-based union.
Court documents and statements reveal that Iasevoli on or about November 28, 2000 established … Read More ➡
Many unions have made it a habit to be late when it comes to filing mandatory annual financial reporting forms with the Department of Labor. But none have been so brazen as to publicly refuse to file on principle – that is, until now. The bosses of Local 700 of the Transport Workers Union, an AFL-CIO affiliate which represents parking garage attendants in Philadelphia, broke new ground a year and a half ago in announcing to the department that it would refuse to file. After waiting the situation out, the U.S. Department of Labor, acting through the Justice Department, has filed a lawsuit demanding completed disclosure forms for the years 2002 through 2005. While the union has not been accused of any financial wrongdoing, one has to ask: What are these guys hiding anyway?
On March 17, 2005, TWU Local 700 President Robert Taylor and Treasurer David Taylor wrote a … Read More ➡