On November 14, Henry Michael Turner, ex-treasurer for National Federation of Federal Employees Local 2058, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, to one count of making false statements in union records. Turner had concealed his embezzlement of $40,474 in union funds. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. NFFE, an affiliate of the Service Employees International union, represents federal and District of Columbia local government employees. (OLMS, 12/6).
BLET Bookkeeper in Washington State Indicted for Embezzlement
On November 9, Kimberly Solheim, ex-bookkeeper for Division 402 of the (Teamsters-affiliated) Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, was indicted in U.S. District Court on one count of embezzlement. She is accused of stealing $14,635 in local funds and entering false information in union records to cover up the theft. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department. BLET Division 402 … Read More ➡
The Northwest Indiana District Council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners has gone through a rocky past few years. They aren’t getting any smoother either. This past May, Gerry Nannenga, formerly council secretary-treasurer, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for accepting bribes in connection with a scheme to purchase a 55-acre tract of land with $10 million in union pension money. The land, part of the Coffee Creek planned community project in Chesterton, Ind., actually was worth only about $5 million. Nannenga, a trustee of the pension plan, also faces a civil suit filed by the Labor Department in August against him and several other trustees. Now comes more bad news. On December 7, the Justice Department announced it had charged the district council’s former office manager, Sally Collins, 51, with stealing $300,697 during March 1995-July 2001. Prosecutors also named her husband, Robert Collins, … Read More ➡
These past few years have been heady times for Worth Construction. The Bethel, Conn.-based contractor has become one of the largest in the New York City area. It’s been building roads, schools, hospitals, sewage treatment plants, and government buildings, generating $186 million in revenues in 2004 alone. Unfortunately, its president, Joseph Pontoriero, has been keeping the wrong kind of company – the Genovese crime family kind. For certain regulators and law enforcement agencies, these associations have raised red flags. There have been enough of them at any rate for New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi to deny the company the eligibility to compete for a $46 million Thruway Authority contract. An ongoing investigation of the contractor may implicate certain members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.
Joseph Pontoriero, documents recently filed in federal court in Connecticut indicate, is no mere associate of the Genovese clan; he’s a full-fledged … Read More ➡
The International Association of Iron Workers seemed willing to overlook a lot of things that had gone wrong at Riggers Local 136 in the Chicago suburb of River Grove, Illinois. Former longtime local boss Fred Schreier had pleaded guilty in federal court to graft. The Department of Labor this July filed a lawsuit alleging financial irregularities in the pension and welfare accounts of this and other Iron Workers locals. And the Justice Department had begun a probe into long-suspected mob influence at Local 136. But when local bosses stopped forwarding dues, it was time for the international union to take over the show.
A few days after Thanksgiving, the Washington, D.C.-based IAIW placed the local under receivership, stripping elected officers – including President Frank DiMarco – of their authority, and removing the local’s seats from various pension boards. The supervision period, … Read More ➡
Not too many people thought Lawrence Ricci disappeared on his own accord. He’d already testified before a federal courtroom jury in Brooklyn, N.Y. And when he remained missing even after being acquitted of conspiracy and wire fraud charges related to a union benefit diversion scheme, the likelihood his vanishing was voluntary became even more remote. Now everyone’s worst suspicions have been confirmed: Ricci was killed. And his death – his body was discovered in the trunk of a car – has all the marks of a mob hit. Ricci, 60, a reputed acting capo of the Genovese crime family, had been on trial along with two top officials of the International Longshoremen’s Association, Harold Daggett and Arthur Coffey, both of whom, like Ricci, wound up acquitted. Another union official, Albert Cernadas, pleaded guilty prior to the trial.
The case centered on whether ILA officials steered a union pharmaceutical contract … Read More ➡
On October 21, William Good Jr., ex-financial secretary-treasurer of Local Lodge 821 of the International Association of Machinists, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to two counts of embezzling union funds totaling $192,469. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General. (OLMS, 11/10).
Ex-Treasurer in Maryland Sentenced, Ordered to Pay Restitution
On October 18, Steven R. Fairfax, formerly secretary-treasurer of Branch 3939 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to five years of probation and 10 months of home confinement for embezzlement of union funds. He also will have to make restitution to the union in the amount of $53,990.04. He had been indicted this March. The sentencing follows an investigation by the Department … Read More ➡
Marilyn Constable must be an incurable optimist. The suburban Pittsburgh woman in late September was indicted by a federal grand jury on 15 counts of embezzlement. Ms. Constable, 45, allegedly wrote out a dozen illegal checks totaling more than $7,500 from a death-benefits fund for members of Local 12 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union. She has pleaded not guilty. The union, which represented employees at a now-closed Nabisco plant and elsewhere, since has merged into BC&T Local 19 in Cleveland.
The indictment charged that Constable, as the fund administrator, diverted local funds for rent, cable TV, and other personal expenses. Additionally, she was named last year in an ongoing Labor Department civil complaint seeking restitution. The suit also named as defendants Local 19, two banks and several union and bakery industry officials who acted as trustees. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/26).… Read More ➡
For nearly a half decade Marcia Huizenga thought nobody would figure out how all those extra paychecks managed to get cashed. But in the end somebody did figure it out. Huizenga, 48, formerly bookkeeper for Teamsters Local 822, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on November 4 to embezzling more than $47,000 in union funds. A routine audit by the local discovered that from January 1999 to August 2003 she had prepared and cashed 77 extra paychecks for her own personal use. Huizenga did not dispute the charge when confronted with the evidence. Local 822 represents about 2,000 meat cutters, barbers, warehouse workers and other tradesmen in the Virginia Tidewater area. (Associated Press, 11/5).
Niagara Falls Menace Sentenced; He’s in Good Company
The halls of justice have claimed another member of LIUNA Local 91’s criminal old guard that for a good half-dozen years … Read More ➡
Now that the federal government and the City of San Diego are done, for the time being, battling molehills, they will have more time for scaling mountains. A recent federal court ruling should make for an easier transition. On November 10, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller took the unusual step of throwing out seven of nine guilty verdicts rendered by a jury this July against Michael Zucchet, a former city councilman, and very briefly, mayor. “As happy as I am,” said Zucchet, “I’ll never get my name back. I’ll never get my job back. I’m financially ruined. My physical and emotional health – and the health of my family – has been devastated.” He’s a lucky man compared to ex-councilman colleague Ralph Inzunza. Judge Miller handed down a 21-month sentence to Inzunza for extortion, fraud and conspiracy in connection with an … Read More ➡
The contracting fiefdom of Chicago’s Duff family all but ended in May with the sentencing of four top members and associates for various fraud, money-laundering and racketeering offenses. Last month saw additional closure. On October 20, Terrence Dolan, former operations manager for Windy City Maintenance, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 11 counts of mail fraud. Windy City, a Duff-owned business, falsely had filed as a woman-owned business in order to land a contract from the City of Chicago.
James Duff and William Stratton, respectively, ex-vice president and business agent of Local 3 of the Liquor and Wine Sales Representatives, an affiliate of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE), had been two key principals in the larger scheme. Duff, a close friend of Mayor Daley, already had pleaded guilty; Stratton, a black friend and minority-group “front,” later was convicted by a jury along with a … Read More ➡