Probe Clears Teamster Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, but Issues Linger

Ken Hall is breathing easier. But his union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, isn’t quite out of the woods yet. On February 17, former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova, the union’s special independent investigator, withdrew obstruction charges against Hall, the IBT’s general secretary-treasurer and number two man behind General President James P. Hoffa. In a letter to the union general counsel, diGenova wrote that Hall “did not play a personal role” in withholding over 32,000 documents, including emails, related to corruption probes. The Teamsters, which had finalized a settlement with the Justice Department in January 2015 to phase out over two decades of tight federal supervision, remains under scrutiny. That’s not good news for Northern California Teamster leader Rome Aloise.

Union Corruption Update examined this issue in detail last November. The Teamsters for many years had been trying to extricate themselves from the terms of a March 1989 civil … Read More ➡

Business Partner of Convicted LIUNA Business Manager in Maryland Sentenced

Christopher Kwegan wasn’t a union man. But right now he no doubt is regretting his dealings with one union in particular. On February 8, Kwegan, a real estate closing agent and co-owner of a Greenbelt, Md. consulting firm, STS General Contracting, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to four years in prison, three years of probation and 120 hours of community service for his role in various schemes to divert at least $1.7 million in funds from the Washington, D.C.-based Laborers International Union of North America Local 657 to STS. He also was ordered to pay $1,632,000 in restitution, the identical sum required of convicted co-defendant Anthony Frederick, who headed the union. Former STS principal owner Gary Cooper also was convicted in the case. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI and the Labor Department.

According to prosecutors, Kwegan enabled Frederick and Cooper … Read More ➡

Wyoming Utility Workers Boss Sentenced for Embezzlement

One could say Harold Gilberson caught a lucky break: He’s not going to prison. On February 7, Gilberson, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 127, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming to six months of home confinement and five years of probation for embezzling $179,052 in funds from the Casper-based union. He also was ordered to pay $158,953 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment. Gilberson had agreed to plead guilty last November following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. He subsequently pleaded guilty in early December.

According to prosecutors, Gilberson, 63, an employee at a power plant in Rock Springs, Wyo., during 2011-15 charged a large number of personal items on his union credit card and then falsified the transactions in union financial statements. A subsequent Department of Labor investigation yielded the conclusion that Gilberson had … Read More ➡

Information Tech Corporations and the Left: A Dangerous Liaison

To the titans of Silicon Valley, November 8, 2016 was a date that forever shall live in infamy. The election of Donald Trump as president posed an unprecedented threat to their campaign to transform America into a permanent global sanctuary. Information technology leaders have been on the warpath since President Trump’s January 27 90-day ban on immigration and refugee entry from seven terrorist-sponsoring (or terrorist-controlled) Muslim-majority nations, an executive order nixed a week later by a Seattle federal judge. That ruling triggered a quick appeal by the administration, and just as quickly, an amicus brief submitted to the appeals court by around 100 tech executives in support of the lower court ruling. Significant as the immigration angle is, another and perhaps less recognized issue looms: the willful transformation of corporations into a de facto branch of the federal government.

With increasing commitment, U.S. corporations over the last few decades have … Read More ➡

Twin Cities Insulators Business Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement

On January 30, Keith Christopherson, former business manager for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 34, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to four months of incarceration, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for embezzling funds from the St. Paul-based union. He also was ordered to pay $67,714 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Christopherson had pleaded guilty in August to one count of embezzlement after being charged in an information in July with stealing the far lower figure of $2,081. Former local financial secretary Scot McNamara also was charged in July; he pleaded guilty in December to embezzling $8,871. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Illinois Maintenance of Way Secretary-Treasurer Files Amended Plea

On January, 26, Michael Schofield, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 1046, entered an amended guilty plea in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to embezzlement of $31,850 from the Plainfield, Ill.-based union.  In the latest action, which vacates his guilty plea last June to one count of falsifying financial records, Schofield pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making an unauthorized loan.  Sentencing is set for March 21.  The earlier and current plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Los Angeles AFSCME Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft

On January 26, Carmen Martinez, former treasurer of Bet Tzedek Legal Service Union Local 946, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of embezzling funds from the Los Angeles union in the amount of $19,070. AFSCME Local 946, along with its sister union, Local 800, has a collective bargaining agreement (and a barely sustainable one at that) with Bet Tzedek, a progressive-oriented nonprofit affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Laborers Office Manager in Idaho Indicted for Embezzlement; Pleads Guilty

On January 25, Ashley Cline, former office manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 155, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho for embezzling more than $37,000 in funds from the Idaho Falls-based union. She then pleaded guilty. Sentencing is scheduled for April 20. The indictment and plea follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

NYC Teamster President Sentenced for Role in Fraud and Kickback Scheme

Louis Smith won’t have to spend much in the way of prison time, but he will have to spend a lot more money. On January 24, Smith, former president of the New York City-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one year in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for taking kickbacks as part of a conspiracy to fleece two union benefit plans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He also was ordered to forfeit $151,481 in assets on top of the $213,264 he already had paid in restitution. Smith, along with Johnnie Miranti, an officer with Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, had pleaded guilty in August. The pair, along with Miranti’s father, had been indicted in July 2015 following a joint probe by the FBI, the U.S. Labor … Read More ➡

Ex-President of Federal Employees Local in Pennsylvania Sentenced

On January 25, John Kauffman Jr., former president of National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local Lodge 1442, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one month in prison, to be followed by seven months of home confinement, for mail fraud against the Chambersburg, Pa. union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $22,062. Kauffman had been charged last September, and pleaded guilty immediately thereafter. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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