West Virginia Construction Trades Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzlement

Nobody is too old to go to prison if the offense is serious enough. Joan Matthews has learned that lesson the hard way. On Wednesday, October 17, Matthews, former bookkeeper for the Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council (CBCTC), was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to a year and a day in prison for embezzling $183,667.11 in funds from the Charleston-based, AFL-CIO-affiliated council. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $141,325.78. Matthews had pleaded guilty this June after being indicted in January. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Matthews, now 70, a resident of South Charleston, W.Va., began stealing labor council funds sometime in 2010 and would continue to do so until September 2014, when certain fellow office employees alerted the Department of Labor to the fact of … Read More ➡

Ohio Carpenters Local Secretary-Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement

On October 4, Steven Perry, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2077, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio with embezzling funds from the Columbus-based union in the amount of $20,458. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Judge Dismisses Michael Avenatti’s Frivolous Lawsuit on Behalf of Stormy Daniels

Mary Altaffer/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Stormy Daniels, porn star/stripper extraordinaire, has been denied a starring role – at least for now. On Monday, a Los Angeles federal court tossed out Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump filed in April by her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. The suit was based on a tweet by Trump calling her allegation of being threatened by a strange man on a Las Vegas parking lot back in 2011 “a total con job.” According to U.S. District Judge S. James Otero, the president’s message was “rhetorical hyperbole” of the sort one associates with standard political discourse. Avenatti doesn’t think so. He’s already filed an appeal. And thanks in part to the publicity he generated in opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation, he now has widespread support among Democratic senators and the general public.

Stephanie Clifford aka “Stormy Daniels,” age 39, a Louisiana native, has worked in the adult film … Read More ➡

Heat & Frost Insulators Business Manager in Wisconsin Pleads No Contest; Sentenced

On September 25, Teresa Adkins, ex-business manager of International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 127, pleaded no contest in Waupaca County, Wisconsin Circuit Court to one count of theft and one count of forgery in connection with the disappearance of funds from the Clintonville, Wisc. union. She then was sentenced to five years of probation for the first count and three years of probation for the second count. She also was ordered to pay $73,618 in restitution and $8,418 in fines. Adkins, now in her late 40s, a resident of Green Bay, had been charged in February 2017 with one count of theft and nine counts of forgery for offenses committed during April 2013-February 2015. The charges follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

IATSE Secretary in Alabama Sentenced for Embezzlement

On September 28, David Hendricks, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 900, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to five years of probation for embezzling $13,987 from the Huntsville-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Hendricks, a resident of Huntsville, had pleaded guilty in May following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Oregon Independent Union President Indicted for Embezzlement

On September 19, John Burgess, former president of Pacific Stainless Products Employee Association Local 304, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on one count of embezzling about $35,000 in funds from the St. Helens-based union and one count of concealing the thefts. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Until Mel Watt Resigns, There’s a Cloud Over FHFA

While the Senate has been poring over the youthful misadventures of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, several House lawmakers, with far less fanfare, have been focusing on a more plausible charge of misconduct involving an ex-colleague, Mel Watt. On September 26, Watt, a former 11-term North Carolina congressman who since January 2014 has headed the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), was grilled at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee concerning allegations about his sexual harassment of a female FHFA employee. “She deserves to be heard and she needs to be heard,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex. Watt denies all wrongdoing, but evidence might not be on his side.

Melvin Luther “Mel” Watt, now 73, a trained lawyer and a native of Charlotte, first was elected to Congress in 1992, a beneficiary of gerrymandering to ensure black representation. During his tenure, he specialized in banking, housing and economic development … Read More ➡

New York Governor Cuomo Protects Forced Public-Employee Unionism

(Sipa via AP Images)

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME was a stunning blow to over 40 years of public-sector union monopoly power. Union leaders for their part are pushing back. They have plenty of allies in state governments, and perhaps no state is as vociferous as New York. Indeed, on June 27, the day of the ruling, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to protect union members from outside intimidation – ironic, given the pressure unions often use to collect dues. The State of New York also has begun deducting dues from the pay of government workers without even checking to see if they are members. And now a prominent lawmaker wants taxpayers to reimburse unions for foregone dues.

State and local officials across the country, especially in non-Right to Work states, are helping to lead a popular resistance to Trump administration policies and court … Read More ➡

HHS, Nonprofit Group Combat Union Medicaid Dues-Skimming Schemes

Few things say “money in the bank” to a public-sector union quite like Medicaid. A proposed federal rule would end this freebie. On July 12, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to bar states from using Medicaid funds as a source of dues for unions representing home health care providers. Workers still would have the right to join a union. But non-joiners no longer would be captive of a state agency deducting dues and forwarding them to a union. Over a dozen states now engage in this practice. For organized labor, this arrangement generates around $200 million a year. That’s why unions and the states are resisting the proposed rule in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling in June. A recent development in Washington State has strengthened the hand of reluctant dues payers while the department finalizes its rule.… Read More ➡

California to Impose Gender Quotas on Businesses?

Mandatory “gender equity” on corporate boards may seem a far-fetched idea, but in one state it soon may become law. Several weeks ago, the California legislature passed a bill, SB 826, that would require every public company headquartered in the state to have at least one woman on its board of directors by the end of 2019. Larger companies also would have to place at least two women on their boards by the end of 2021. There would be stiff fines for noncompliance. The bill awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown (in photo). It’s yet another example of how affirmative action is driven by political shaming, not by sensible economics or constitutional law.

Feminists long have set their sights on breaking the “glass ceiling,” that metaphorical barrier established by male employers to discourage women from advancing to top positions. As a corrective, these activists increasingly are calling for requiring … Read More ➡