President Bush Puts Budget Priority on Union Corruption

While seeking fiscal responsibility in his proposed FY 2006 budget, Pres. Bush has made it clear that he will not stint on fighting union corruption.  While the Dept. of Labor’s overall budget is decreased by 4.4 pct. from FY 2005, the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards includes an increase of $7 million to fight fraud and corruption in labor unions. Money would be used to beef up audits, help hire 48 new auditors, and investigate and combat embezzlement of union funds. [DOL, 2/7/05]Read More ➡

Ex-Boston Bus. Mgr. Arrested on Racketeering Charges

The former Business Manager of Tunnel Workers Local 88 was arrested on Feb. 4 on federal racketeering charges.  Scott Boidi, age 46, of Pembroke, Massachusetts, is charged with one count of Racketeering, three counts of Embezzlement of Union Assets, one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, one count of Use of a Communication Facility in Furtherance of a Crime, one count of Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime; and two counts of Witness Tampering. 

 

From June 1991 through May 2002, Boidi served as the Business Manager of Local 88 of the Tunnel Workers in Boston and Quincy. As Bus. Mgr., Boidi was responsible for, among other things, the processing of membership applications, which included collecting initiation fees from prospective members and placing members in jobs.  The Indictment charges Boidi with having used the union as an enterprise Read More ➡

NYC Union Bosses Target Manhattan D.A.

Ex-judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, who has yet to formally announce her bid to unseat veteran Manhattan Dist. Attny. Robert Morgenthau, already boasts an impressive lineup of union endorsements.  The Captains Endowment Association, the Detectives Endowment Assn., NY State Court Officers Assn. and the Uniformed Fire Officers Assn. were among those who publicly backed Snyder at a news conference in mid-Jan.

 

Bolstered by the law-enforcement unions, Snyder suggested that if elected this fall, she would not spend half the DA’s budget on white collar crime. (Morgenthau aides said it’s actually 30 to 40 percent.)  But there could be some other reasons unions might support Morgenthau’s opponent.  The Detectives Endowment Association has been furious at Morgenthau for vacating the convictions of five men in the Central Park jogger case in 2002 after DNA linked another man to the 1989 attack.

 

Many other govt. union officials have distrusted Read More ➡

Ex-Chicago Boss Charged with Embezzlement

John “Buddy” Ruel liked a good time.   He’d slap down a credit card to pay for booze, items from an adult toy shop, limousine rides, even an escort service.  The only problem was that the credit card wasn’t his.  It belonged to the Chicago Ironworkers District Council, a powerful union group that Ruel headed for years.

 

On Jan. 17, the federal government moved against Ruel for his alleged excesses, charging him with “converting the labor organization’s funds to his own use” over at least seven years by using a union credit card and phone card for his own personal whims.  Ruel was president of the district council, the umbrella group for around 7,100 ironworkers and machinery-moving riggers, for more than a decade, until he was voted out and replaced by Danny Aussem in 2001.

 

Aussem said the finances were awful when he took over. Read More ➡

Fed. Takeover of NYC Union Looming

Now that several of its top officials have pled guilty in a massive, mob-orchestrated no-show jobs scheme, the next stop for the city’s powerful Operating Engineers union is expected to be a federal trusteeship, reports Tom Robbins of the Village Voice.

 

The Manhattan and Brooklyn U.S. Attorneys, who brought twin cases against officials of locals 14 and 15 of the engineers–and their mob allies–have made little secret of their intent to file civil racketeering charges against the union itself.  Talks on a possible civil RICO case are ongoing, union officials acknowledge. “Our lawyers are working with the feds; that’s where it stands,” said Joe Brady, a spokesperson for the national union in Washington.

 

But John Ruggiero, a former Local 15 business agent, has told prosecutors that he was told that recently convicted Local 15 boss Tommy Maguire had paid $80,000 to the president of the IUOE Read More ➡

San Diego Union-Trib Scores Cozy Pension Deal for Union Bosses

In a vote that was scarcely noticed at the time but today is drawing scrutiny from federal investigators, the City Council quietly approved extraordinary retirement benefits for three politically powerful individuals — the presidents of the police union, the firefighters union and the white-collar workers union. All three are current or former city employees and vested in the municipal pension system.

 

Under this highly irregular arrangement, the union chiefs were allowed to add their union salaries to their city salaries in calculating their retirement benefits, thus substantially boosting their taxpayer-financed pensions. This unique perk, extended exclusively to the three incumbent union leaders, but not to their successors, will cost taxpayers $2 million, according to an estimate by Michael Conger, a Rancho Santa Fe lawyer who has successfully sued the city on other pension matters.

 

At best, the cozy deal worked out for the union presidents was a grossly Read More ➡

Village Voice’s Tom Robbins Provides Color to NYC Local 15

For more than 25 years there hasn’t been a big construction job in this city where Tommy Maguire, leader of the Operating Engineers union, wasn’t present for the photo op.  Recently, he was there at ground zero, glowingly describing the dedication of his members as they disinterred the wreckage.

 

Then last month, shortly before his 69th birthday, Maguire was compelled to attend a different kind of event, this one in Brooklyn federal court, where he stood glumly alongside three other union officers as he admitted to taking bribes from contractors in a scheme that had helped to vastly inflate the cost of construction in this town. Going back to 1989, he acknowledged in court, he had accepted payoffs, sometimes in the form of Christmas gifts, from at least two contractors.

 

The conviction of Thomas P. Maguire was greeted as just another ho-hum labor corruption tale in a Read More ➡

NY Contractors Indicted for Union Bribery

Top executives of 5 NY construction firms were indicted earlier this month on charges of making illegal payoffs over more than a decade to officials of two union locals.  According to the indictments, since 1991, the execs had made hidden payments to officials of Local 14 and Local 15 of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers.  

 

Dino Tomassetti, president of Laquila Construction, was described by prosecutors as the lead defendant. The others arrested were John Amicucci, president of DeFoe Corporation; Guerino Cavaliere, president of Acme Skillman Construction Company; Peter Ruttura, vice president of Ruttura & Sons; and Edward Simpson, chief engineer at NAB Construction Corporation.  All five were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and illegal labor payments.

 

Prosecutors said that the contractors made payments to the union officials in exchange for their cooperation in violation of collective bargaining agreements. The officials allowed the companies to Read More ➡

Iowa Ex-Narc Charged with Embezzlement

A federal grand jury in mid-Decmeber accused a former state narcotics officer of embezzling more than $89,000 from the state peace officers’ union.  Rodney Alan Fox was indicted on charges that he embezzled $89,433 from the State Police Officer Council, using checks and credit cards for personal expenses. The council represents 600 state police officers, including troopers, park rangers and conservation officers.  Fox is scheduled to appear in federal court in Des Moines Dec. 28. He plans to plead innocent, said his lawyer, F. Montgomery Brown.

 

Fox is accused of using a union credit card for personal purchases, writing union checks to pay off his personal credit card bill, spending union money on two unauthorized cell phones, and writing union checks to himself.

 

Fox’s lawyer, F. Montgomery Brown, said Fox will fight the charges.  “He was a peace officer and is not an accountant,” Brown Read More ➡

Fla. Union Boss’s Sentencing Delayed

A judge said on Nov. 30 that he would rather wait and hear from the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of federal sentencing guidelines before deciding how long he should send Broward County union kingpin Walter “Buster” Browne to prison.  Although Browne’s sentencing has been delayed several times, U.S. Dist. Judge Jose E. Martinez (S.D. FL, G.W. Bush) did take action on another front. He said he was ordering Browne and his sister to forfeit more than $590,000 in assets to the federal government.

 

A federal jury in Miami convicted Browne in June of labor racketeering and fraud. After a two-month trial, the jury found that Browne and his sister, Patricia Devaney, lined their pockets by running the 7,000-member Fedtn. of Public and Private Employees like an organized crime racket.  Devaney helped Browne pad his expense account and embezzled more than $116,000 from the union’s payroll.Read More ➡

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