Wayne Kruse has some lessons to learn, not just teach. On March 8, Kruse, former president of the Lawrence, Kansas Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, was charged with two counts of forgery and one count of theft in connection to the disappearance of nearly $100,000 in union funds. LEA’s current leadership discovered more than $97,000 missing from about $240,000 in dues deducted from members’ paychecks between November 2003 and August 2004. Sam Rabiola, a high school English teacher who succeeded Kruse as the local president, said he found the group’s finances in disarray. “There were no books,” he remarked. “There were some duplicate check stubs and that was about it. A lot of money had been spent and was unaccounted for.”
Kruse, a sixth-grade teacher who had headed the local union since 1999, would not be long at his job. Rabiola asked the Kansas chapter of … Read More ➡
The Bush administration has been rapidly expanding its audits of labor unions. Union officials are crying foul, claiming the administration is retaliating against their overwhelming support for Senator John Kerry in last year’s presidential election. But the primary legacy of the recent ramping up of investigations may be a thorough housecleaning of union of their criminal element.
The Department of Labor has released figures showing that during 1991-2000 the number of its audits of national and local unions fell from 1,080 to 206. By contrast, in 2004 the department performed more than 500 audits. And it expects to conduct even more this year, in large measure because of the planned addition of 48 full-time workers to its union-auditing unit this year. That represents a 14 percent increase in the face of personnel cuts in other areas.
Lary F. Yud, deputy director of the … Read More ➡
Seeking to uphold union democracy, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and Public Citizen filed suit on April 14 backing the free speech rights of a union member running for office. The suit was filed on behalf of Joseph Hughes to secure his right to speak with fellow members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
Hughes is running for Business Manager in the June election of IBEW Local 46, in the Seattle area. Hughes is challenging a Local 46 rule that forbids candidates from discussing the union election or having political paraphernalia – including buttons or bumper stickers – anywhere on the union’s premises, including the hallways of the union hall or even in the union parking lot. Because the union runs a hiring hall to which members come daily from surrounding counties in order to secure work, the rule limits a candidate’s … Read More ➡
Michael Forde, head of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, has led a charmed life for the past year. On April 27, 2004, a jury found Forde and a co-defendant guilty of taking a bribe from a mob-controlled contractor. However, because of a legal technicality, he continues to run the 25,000-member union.
Forde was among more than three dozen persons indicted in September 2000 by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. A mob-linked contractor testified that Forde took money to look the other way while he used nonunion labor on a midtown hotel project. After the conviction, Forde’s lawyers asked that the verdict be set aside because of jury misconduct allegations. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Atlas held hearings on the matter, and put off sentencing seven times between last June and November. He has yet to rule on the … Read More ➡
Robert Persico, a Scarsdale, N.Y. businessman, can add one more notch to his mob connections. Persico, 40, head of the Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based Persico Contracting and Trucking, was charged with bribing officials of Locals 14 and 15 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. Earlier, he had been indicted for conspiring with a reputed Gambino family capo, Gregory DePalma, also from Scarsdale, to extort another construction company and transport stolen luxury goods.
The indictment of Persico marks the second time in recent memory that a prominent Westchester County contractor has been indicted in connection with a federal investigation into IUOE corruption. Last December, John Amicucci, president of DeFoe Corp., along with officials at four other construction companies, was charged with labor racketeering with members of the Gambino crime family. Additionally, more than 40 contractors, union officials, and members of the Genovese and … Read More ➡
On March 29, 2005, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Terry Aldrich, former president of the Westfield Tanning Employees Association, was sentenced to two months in prison followed by three years probation for embezzlement. In addition, Aldrich will be subject to four months of electronic monitoring and he must pay restitution in the amount of $54,770 (payable in the minimum of $50.00 monthly installments). On September 15, 2004, Aldrich pled guilty to embezzling union funds in excess of $39,000.
Also on March 29, 2005, in the United Stated District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Robert Moon, former secretary-treasurer of the Westfield Tanning Employees Association, was sentenced to two months in prison followed by three years probation for embezzlement. Upon release, Moon will be subject to electronic monitoring for four months. Moon must pay restitution in the amount of … Read More ➡
On March 2, in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, Steven R. Fairfax, former secy.-treasurer of Branch 3939, Natl. Assn. of Letter Carriers, was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $53,990. Fairfax was also indicted on two counts of making false statements in reports. Fairfax‘s indictment follows an investigation by the Washington District Office of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. (OLMS, 3/22/05]
Ex-Secy.-Treasurer Sentenced in Ill. Fed. Court
On March 11, in the U.S. Dist. Court for the Northern Dist. of Illinois, Derrick Thomas, former secretary-treasurer of Local 138, Glass Molders Plastics Union, was sentenced to three years probation, with the first six months in home confinement, for embezzling union funds. In addition, he was ordered to: (1) make additional restitution of $3,528.52, (2) pay a special assessment of $100, and (3) complete 200 hours of … Read More ➡
David N. Kelley, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Pasquale D’Amuro, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, Robert Johnson, the District Attorney for Bronx County, and Gordon S. Heddell, the Inspector General of the United States Department of Labor, announced on March 9 the unsealing of a 53-count Indictment in Manhattan federal court captioned United States v. Arnold Squitieri, et al., 05 Cr. 228 (the Indictment”).
The Indictment charges 32 defendants, most of whom are members or associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), with wide-ranging racketeering crimes and other offenses spanning more than a decade, including violent assault, extortion of various individuals and businesses, loansharking, union embezzlement, illegal gambling, trafficking in stolen property
and counterfeit goods, and mail fraud.
The chief defendant is Arnold Squitieri, a/k/a “Zeke,” a/k/a “Bozey,” a/k/a … Read More ➡
A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment on Feb. 23 against a former Sussex County political party chairman and two other individuals for their roles in embezzlement schemes that victimized Local 16 of the United Service Workers of America and its now-bankrupt health fund. Charles W. Cart, Charles H. Wiener and Marvin Raphael are charged with conspiring to embezzle a total of approximately $284,000 in health and union funds as a result of a multi-faceted fraud scheme existing between May 2000 and November, 2001.
Susan Donato of St. Cloud, Fla., formerly the President of Local 16 and the administrator of the Local 16 Health Fund was previously charged in a separate one-count Information. Donato pled guilty in January to conspiracy to embezzle from the Health Fund and is presently cooperating in the government’s investigation.
Cart is a former Sussex County political party chairman as … Read More ➡
On Feb. 20, Walter J. Browne, former President of the National Federation of Public and Private Employees, and Patricia A. Devaney, his sister and Administrative Assistant at the union were sentenced to terms of 5 yrs, 10 months’ imprisonment and 2 yrs., 3 months’ imprisonment. They were sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Jose E. Martinez (S.D. FL, G.W. Bush) in connection with the defendants’ violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The sentences were announced by Marcos Daniel Jiménez, U.S. Attny. for the Southern Dist. of Fla.; and Douglas Colon, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations
On June 2, 2004, Browne and Devaney were convicted by a federal jury in Miami, after a two-month trial, of conspiring to violate RICO, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d), and of committing substantive RICO … Read More ➡