Contractors over the years have devised numerous ways of fleecing unionized workers out of their wages and benefits. Joseph Lampignano and John Traversa probably rank as among the more creative of the bunch. On June 3, Lampignano, co-owner and vice president of a Chicago-area construction firm, A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud for the purpose of facilitating a scheme to avoid paying workers about $2.6 million in wage and benefit contributions. Traversa, the company superintendent, pleaded guilty that same day to one count of lying to investigators. Each had been charged on May 18. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the Labor Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
A Lamp Concrete Contractors, based in the northwest Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Ill., was a successful road builder. Part of its … Read More ➡
On June 22, Steve Hartman, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in an information count with forgery totaling $2,173 against the Fort Knox, Ky.-based union. He then pleaded guilty. Hartman is the second person in his position accused of stealing. In February 2015, Thomas Wilson, a former Chapter 83 secretary-treasurer, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the union in an amount of more than $10,000. In each case the charge followed a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.… Read More ➡
On June 13, Benjamin Stancil, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 451, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to four counts of wire fraud against the Havelock, N.C. (near New Bern) union. He had been charged in February. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The sniper-style murders of five Dallas police officers last Thursday night should provoke universal outrage. Yet many observers are justifying them. While not defending the killings, they are assuming moral equivalence between the massacre and earlier deaths of criminal suspects in police custody. They claim the murderer, a black ex-Army reservist, Micah X. Johnson, killed by police during a standoff, was a “lone wolf,” not one of the peaceful protestors. This is nonsense. The tactics differ; the goals are the same. Dallas Police Chief David Brown, also black, admits Johnson was driven by a hatred of whites. And that’s what drives Black Lives Matter, the social network behind protests in Dallas and other cities that enables this attitude.
National Legal and Policy Center several times this year has put Black Lives Matter (BLM) and its enablers under the spotlight for poisoning debate on race. More than once, its members have … Read More ➡
On June 7, Jeffrey Davies, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 183, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to one count of embezzling more than $90,000 in funds from the Anchorage-based union. He had been indicted last December for stealing more than $100,000. The union represents employees of the Alaska Railroad, which, though not formally a government agency, is a state-chartered and owned corporation. The indictment and guilty plea follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On June 3, Nereida Norris, former clerk craft director of American Postal Workers Union Local 98, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to nine months in prison and two years of supervised release for making a false statement in financial records of the Fort Worth-based union to conceal her theft of funds. She also was ordered to pay $25,956 in restitution, a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Norris had pleaded guilty in February after being charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 31, Jesus Gonzales, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 300, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to two years of probation for making false entries in the records of the Lansing union for the purpose of concealing his theft of $6,720. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Gonzales had pleaded guilty in January after being charged last August. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
Mark Durinski has repaid around half of what he stole. That helped reduce his punishment. On May 17, Durinski, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 294, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to one month in prison and three years of supervised release for making false statements in financial records of the Limestone, Maine-based union to conceal duplicate reimbursements. He had been charged last August, and subsequently pleaded guilty to three counts in September, following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Durinski, now 64, a resident of Limestone, was an employee of the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) during 1995-2014. According to prosecutors, for the last five of those years he repeatedly claimed reimbursements for travel-related union expenses he already had received from his employer. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to pay $53,544 in … Read More ➡
It took about four years for Eric Gonzalez to be caught, but justice apparently is being done. On April 13, Gonzalez, former president of a local government employees union, the Lynwood Employees Association, was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on charges of embezzling more than $27,000 from the union. He was also charged with four counts of felony grand theft. Gonzalez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment the following day and was released on his own recognizance.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Gonzalez, now 34, a civil engineering technician with the City of Lynwood (population 70,000), during 2011-12 used his position as a union official to make four unauthorized cash withdrawals from an employee association account totaling $27,735 for his own personal use. The withdrawals eventually were discovered by union board members, who then contacted the County Sheriff’s Department. If convicted, Gonzalez faces up … Read More ➡
On May 16, Donn Pendergrass, former president of United Steelworkers Local 1191, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to one count of embezzling $33,435 in funds from the Mishawaka union. He had been indicted last December. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡