Detroit Ex-Local Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On August 29, Linda Holden, former financial secretary-treasurer for Local 639 of the United Steelworkers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $74,090.  The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  USWA Local 639 previously had been affiliated with the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers (PACE), where it was known as Local 6-639.  The change in affiliation is due to a merger, approved in April 2005, of the Steelworkers and PACE.  The new umbrella organization is known as the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.  (OLMS, 9/25/06).


Former Local Business Agent in Southern Minnesota Charged

On September 7, Cathy Bronson, ex-business representative for Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 21, was Read More ➡

Self-Oversight Ends; LIUNA President O’Sullivan Calls for More Organizing

For eleven years, the leadership of the Laborers International Union of North America had dodged a bullet. As described in these pages many times, in February 1995, after the Justice Department had prepared a massive civil RICO suit against union leadership, including President Arthur A. Coia, top-level Clinton administration officials allegedly intervened on the union’s behalf. The Department of Justice, under White House pressure, allowed the union to operate under a federally-supervised self-policing program to rid its ranks of organized crime. Since that consent agreement, 322 persons in the union, through various means, were given the boot. Coia, for his part, announced in December 1999 that he would step down at the beginning of the following year over unrelated state tax evasion charges involving his purchase of three Ferraris from a union vendor in Rhode Island. Soon after, the DOJ and the union, led by new President Terence O’Sullivan, announced Read More ➡

More Niagara Falls, N.Y. LIUNA Members Sentenced for Crimes

The thugs who ran LIUNA Local 91 until 2002 are out of commission. Given the recent unexpected mid-trial guilty pleas of the final four defendants, a rogues’ gallery that included ex-President Mark Congi, the business now at hand is sentencing. On successive days a month ago, three former members of the Niagara Falls, N.Y. union who previously pled guilty received their reward in federal court. They are among a dozen and a half persons who either pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, all charged in an indictment that detailed a pattern of beatings, threats, vandalism and a firebombing against contractors and workers during the period 1995-2002. 

The three men sentenced, on August 21, 22 and 23, respectively, were Dominick Dellaccio, Salvatore Bertino, and Andrew Shomers. Delaccio, 61, himself a former Local 91 president, was sentenced to 38 months in prison and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution. As part Read More ➡

Ex-Manager, Two Family Members Plead Guilty to Royalty Scam

It’s a good thing Marsha Aiken is no apparent relation to successful pop singer Clay Aiken. If she is, she’d probably keep quiet about it. For four years she and close relatives seemed on their way to amassing music-industry riches. What they wound up with was unwanted fame. Aiken had been royalty manager for the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), a Nashville, Tenn.-based union representing some 5,000 songwriters and estates. She engineered a scheme to siphon nearly $1.25 million from the SGA through a satellite office in Weehawken, N.J. On September 7, the scam met its end in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. Aiken, 54, a resident of Brooklyn, standing before U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit embezzlement. Her daughter, Nicole Williams, 27, already had pleaded guilty on August 30 to conspiracy charges, and Aiken’s nephew, Anthony Ray, 33, pled guilty to tax Read More ➡

Aging Genovese Family Boss Pleads Guilty to Transit Union Racketeering

As reputed boss of the Genovese crime family, Matty “the Horse” Ianniello was in the crime business.  But now at age 86 and headed for federal prison, his main order of business will be survival, even with an abbreviated sentence.  On Thursday, September 14, the ailing mobster, his wooden cane hanging on a chair beside him, entered a plea of guilty to one count of racketeering in the court of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan.  Free on bail for now, Ianniello, a resident of Long Island, faces a prison sentence of one-and-a-half to two years, plus forfeiture of up to $1 million to the government.  Without the plea bargain, he could have gotten as many as 20 years in prison. 


Ianniello, a longtime Genovese capo, rose to the top of the family food chain in 1997 following multiple racketeering and conspiracy convictions of longtime boss Vincent “the Read More ➡

Colorado Teachers Union Treasurer Arrested for Theft

Kristen Prevedel thought her secret was safe with a friend.  It’s a good thing for members of the Falcon Teachers Education Association that it wasn’t.  Prevedel, a language-arts teacher at Skyview Middle School in Falcon, a suburb of Colorado Springs, and also the association’s treasurer until this July, went to dinner with a fellow teacher, a next-door neighbor at that.  At the restaurant, she told her friend that she’d written about $50,000 worth of union checks to herself at the behest of then-union President Tom Wilke, who said he was changing banks; Wilke told her to keep the cash until a new account was set up.  Shortly thereafter, her friend informed police of the conversation.  That led to the arrest of Prevedel on August 24 on suspicion of felony theft of $90,750, a sum representing 48 checks written out during 2005 and this year.

Prevedel, alleges the arrest affidavit, also Read More ➡

Charges Against Oregon Teachers Union Treasurer Dropped; Could be Restored

Missing money doesn’t have to have a guilty culprit. At least that’s what Cheryl Ann Cooper, an accounting teacher and former treasurer of the Reynolds Education Association, is hoping. Cooper, 54, on September 5 turned herself into local authorities in Gresham, a suburb of Portland, and promptly was booked on one count of aggravated first-degree theft. At her arraignment, she was charged with embezzling $150,000 in union dues. Apparently, prosecutors thought the charge might not stick because the very next day they dropped it. They cautioned, however, that she could be recharged within two years. Cooper, who had served as the local treasurer since July 1999, resigned her union post this past April. This August, she took leave of her teaching position, which since has been filled. 

Cooper’s alleged thefts took place over more than a half-decade. This spring, the Reynolds Education Association noticed discrepancies in its records. Officials requested Read More ➡

Office Manager for Duluth Local Indicted for Embezzlement

Kathryn L. Stark had an 11-year run stealing funds from Local 31 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  But the former office manager of the Duluth, Minn.-based local ran out of luck sometime after that.  A federal grand jury in Minneapolis on September 11 indicted Stark, 49, a resident of Superior, Wisconsin, on charges that during 1993-2004 she stole more than $50,000 from the union.  Two other persons also were indicted in the case, the result of an investigation by the Labor Department.  Local 31 represents utility workers in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.  (Duluth News-Tribune, 9/12/06).          


Cleveland Ex-Local Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On August 8, Boni L. Segura, formerly secretary of Local 18 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, based in Cleveland, pled guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one Read More ➡

Judge Sides with Dissenting Cintas Workers in Pennsylvania

Unions, like any kind of organization, want to increase their membership.  And they have every right to do so.  But that right at some point has to yield to the right to privacy of those who might not want to join.  That was the view of a federal court in Pennsylvania in rendering a decision in favor of dissenting employees of the nation’s largest uniform and laundry service.  On August 30, U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell ruled that representatives of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, or UNITE, violated federal privacy laws by copying down license-plate and other information from motor vehicles parked on the lot of the Cintas Corp. plant in Emmaus, Pa.  The union’s intent was to track down the residences of vehicle owners in the hopes of organizing them.  While the ruling wasn’t a complete victory – the court absolved the union’s international president, Bruce Read More ➡

Candidate for D.C. Council Chairman Taken to the Woodshed

Union leaders often have a blind eye when it comes to corruption in their own ranks, but they are quick to punish the smallest faux pas, spoken or written, when it comes to perceived acts of disloyalty from political allies.  Just ask Washington, D.C. Council Member Vincent C. Gray.  Gray, a Democrat, a first-term representative of the city’s Ward 7, is running for council chairman.  Not long ago he had begun passing out 15,000 campaign leaflets at Metrorail stops and meet-and-greet encounters.  The leaflets, which carried a page of endorsements from ward Democrats, business organizations and unions, seemed innocuous enough.  The problem was what they didn’t contain:  a union logo.  That’s because the leaflets weren’t union-printed.  That, in the world of organized labor, is a political no-no.  


Union spokesmen were quick to demand an apology from Gray.  Joslyn Read More ➡