Massachusetts UFCW Local Official Sentenced for Extortion, Fraud

Joseph DiFlumera must have forgotten who was paying his dues. As president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445 in Dedham, Mass., he was supposed to be negotiating on behalf of supermarket workers. What he negotiated instead, over the course of 1989 to 2003, was a sweet deal worth $1.56 million to himself. He’s set to enter federal prison on January 17 to serve a 46-month sentence for mail and wire fraud. But it’s not likely that he’ll be able to make any restitution because it was the casinos who were the biggest winners of all. 

 

DiFlumera, 71, had served his union for a long time. From 1959 through 1976 he was president of UFCW Local 1459, based in Springfield, Mass.  Though it had been years since he headed Local 1445 at the time of his arrest in 2003, the union trusted him to negotiate deals. Read More ➡

Change to Win, LM-2 Ruling, Longshoremen Led Pack in 2005

Compiling a list of the previous year’s Top Ten Whatever – news stories, TV shows or movies – is one of life’s guiltier pleasures for the scribbling class, providing an opportunity for the compiler to exhibit a briefly heightened sense of importance.  Yet despite inviting a certain level of self-indulgence, it also serves a needed function:  putting events in perspective.  There’s no reason why labor corruption stories can’t be ranked as such.

 

The Top 10 stories for 2005 are not the product of any weighted formula, but they do reflect the application of several criteria.  First is the amount of funds stolen or missing.  A union that fleeces its treasury of $2 million, all other things held equal, is making a far bigger dent in its members’ livelihoods than if it had stolen $200,000.  Second is evidence of involvement, if any, by officials rather than office employees.  When a union Read More ➡

Florida Ex-Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On November 18, Donald Dixon, ex-treasurer and bookkeeper for Local 623 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to embezzling union funds.  He was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $106,152.  Dixon had been indicted in July following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Tampa Resident Investigator Office.  (OLMS, 12/20).

 

Ex-Local President in New Orleans Charged with Embezzlement

On December 7, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana filed an information count against Roy E. Jones, Jr., ex-president of Local 3450 of the Communications Workers of America, for embezzlement.  He is charged with stealing approximately $66,000 from the New Orleans-based local.  The action follows an investigation by the Department of Labor.  (12/20).

 

North Dakota Local Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Read More ➡

Ex-Niagara Falls, N.Y. President Has to Find New Lawyer

The gang that ran Laborers Local 91 during the late-90s and the early part of this decade has been put out of operation.  Following a massive FBI raid in May 2002 and subsequent indictments, a dozen former local officials and members thus far have been convicted of felonies, with only one being acquitted.  But the day of reckoning for the biggest catch of all, Mark Congi, the union’s ex-president, will have to wait.  On Tuesday, December 13, U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara, at the behest of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, disqualified defense lawyer Paul J. Cambria from representing Congi and three other defendants.  Judge Arcara held that Cambria had conflicts of interest due to his past associations with potential government witnesses. 

 

Jury selection in the case had been scheduled to begin this January 1.  In the meantime, Congi, 45, remains in jail, having Read More ➡

AFSCME Secretary in Connecticut Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

It may take a while before the till at American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1522 in Bridgeport, Connecticut is fully replenished. On the bright side, the two people who raided its cookie jar are out of the way. On December 15, Jacqueline Sikorski, formerly the local’s secretary-treasurer, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to embezzling funds. Court records show that Sikorski, 62, during the period February 1999-February 2002 embezzled $26,256 by cashing union checks for fictitious or exaggerated expenses, and then diverting the money for personal use. The local represents various employees of the City of Bridgeport and the privately-owned Bridgeport Health Care Center

Sikorski’s guilty plea follows that of former Local 1522 President Gary Gourley back in September. During his tenure as local head during January 1999-March 2002, Gourley, 55, ripped off more than $63,000, writing 258 union checks that either had falsified Read More ➡

Genovese Boss Gigante Dies; Corrupt, But Was He Crazy?

vinnie-giganteThe media dubbed him “the Oddfather.” But if Vincent “the Chin” Gigante’s decades-long bizarre public behavior had succeeded as a ploy to avoid a criminal conviction, what matters most here was that as the reigning boss of New York’s Genovese Mafia family, he controlled a criminal empire that included any number of labor unions. Gigante, 77, died of heart disease on December 19 in a federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri. His death marks the passing of an era, the final act in a roughly 60-year career in organized crime.    

 

With his pompadour hair and pugilist face, Vincent Gigante was straight out of central casting. He was born in the Bronx in March 29, 1928, one of five sons, to Neapolitan immigrant parents. School didn’t agree with him. He dropped out of Manhattan’s Textile High in the ninth grade, latching onto a world of petty crime Read More ➡

Gotti Ally D’Amico Becomes New Gambino Boss; Denies It, Too

Even in the Mafia, policy is personnel. And the Gambino crime organization takes its time before hiring someone for the job of CEO. The word on the street is that there’s a new boss: John “Jackie Nose” D’Amico. Jerry Capeci, editor of the Web site, ganglandnews.com, was one of the first of many news sources to break the story. A longtime family capo, D’Amico isn’t far removed from the two-decade succession of Gottis that ran the family business. Yet he denies being in charge. “I’m insignificant,” he told the New York Daily News. “I’m not important. I take the 4 train, the 5 train, the 6 train. That’s the only way I travel. I don’t have a chauffeur-driven car.” 

 

So who is this guy anyway? John D’Amico, 69, was a trusted right-hand man of John Gotti until the Teflon Don’s conviction in 1992 on more than a dozen counts Read More ➡

Ex-Federal Employees Treasurer in Maryland Pleads Guilty

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 ➡

Indiana District Ex-Secretary Charged with Embezzlement

carpenters-logoThe 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 ➡

New York State Says “No” to Genovese-Linked Contractor

tony-salernoThese 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 ➡