California LIUNA Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

For more than two years, Edward Padilla used his union for personal spending. He’s now likely to spend time in prison. On March 27, Padilla, former secretary-treasurer and business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 220, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to one count of embezzlement in the sum of $168,780 from the Bakersfield construction union. As part of his plea, Padilla agreed to make full restitution. He had been charged on March 3. Sentencing is set for July 10. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Padilla, now 56, a resident of Bakersfield, during September 2012-December 2014 wrote unauthorized checks from a union account that were rubber-stamped with the president’s signature; used two union-issued credit cards to make more than 200 personal purchases; and obtained reimbursements for unauthorized sick … Read More ➡

Civilian Technicians President in Washington State Indicted for Theft

On March 27, Casey Cortese, former president of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 108, was indicted in the Superior Court of Pierce County, Wash., on one count of theft of funds from the Lakewood (Tacoma area) union in an amount of more than $27,000. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

SEIU Puts Michigan Health Care Affiliate in Trusteeship, Probes Possible Fraud

Financial malpractice rarely goes out of season among a number of health care affiliates of the Service Employees International Union. On February 14, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry placed SEIU Healthcare Michigan under emergency trusteeship following allegations by an unnamed internal whistleblower that two of its top officials had abused the Detroit-based union’s loan and vacation policies. Henry removed union president Marge Robinson and replaced her with three trustees to manage day-to-day affairs. While no dollar figure on the missing funds is available, evidence suggests it is substantial. The union, as it was, had been bleeding membership after the enactment by the Michigan legislature of Right to Work legislation several years ago.

Marge Faville Robinson, a nurse by profession, had done well for herself heading SEIU Healthcare Michigan (HCMI). According to the annual financial data submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, her union salary in 2015 was $209,889. Family … Read More ➡

Postal Workers Secretary in South Carolina Sentenced for Thefts

On March 22, Sharon Holmes, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 807, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to one day in prison and 18 months of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Columbia, S.C. union. She also was ordered to pay $101,987 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Holmes had pleaded guilty in March 2016 to one count of embezzling $41,823 after being indicted the previous September for embezzlement in that amount plus wire fraud in the sum of $178,330. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Toymakers Secretary-Treasurer in NYC Sentenced for Role in Benefit Scheme

Johnnie Miranti wanted an opportunity to get back into action managing his union. A court said “no such luck.” On March 23, Miranti, former secretary-treasurer of Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, a toymakers union, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to eight months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to solicit and receive $138,500 worth of benefit kickbacks. He had pleaded guilty last August after being indicted in July 2015 along with his father, Rocco Miranti, and Louis Smith, former president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810. Smith had been sentenced in January after pleading guilty last August to skimming more than $150,000 from the Local 810 health plan. Each union is based in New York City.

The Local 223 health plan, for its part, was not in the best of shape. By … Read More ➡

Kansas City, Mo.-Area Painters Union Secretary Pleads Guilty to Concealing Theft

On March 21, Monique Tyson, former office secretary for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 3, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one count of falsifying union records of the Raytown, Mo.-based labor federation to hide her embezzlement of funds in an amount of between $7,500 and $20,864. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ruling in Perry Capital Appeal Shackles Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Shareholders

One buys stock with an understanding that the rules affecting profit and loss won’t change without warning. The U.S. Court for Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, apparently believes otherwise. On February 21, the court ruled 2-1 that investors in shares of secondary residential mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as managed by Perry Capital LLC, a New York hedge fund, have no right to realize their accrued profits. The decision continues the federal conservatorship of the two companies established in 2008. The case was triggered by the “sweep rule” issued by the Treasury Department in August 2012. That rule confiscated dividends as repayment for $187.5 billion in emergency loans even though the corporations have repaid far more than that. The case, one of many such suits, is a lesson on the perils of government bailouts.

National Legal and Policy Center on many occasions has analyzed the Fannie Mae and … Read More ➡

Southern California Independent Union Officer Pleads Guilty to Theft

Danae Romero might not be the only culpable member of her family, but she appears to be the first to admit as much. On March 9, Romero, former vice president of the Union of Industrial and Service Workers of America Local 101, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of theft in connection with the disappearance of benefit funds from the Colton (San Bernardino County), Calif.-based independent union. She, her brother and their parents had been indicted a little over two years ago for looting a combined roughly $900,000 in funds from the union, which represents a variety of workers in Southern California’s Inland Empire region. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Union Corruption Update covered this case when it first broke. Back in January … Read More ➡

Dairy Workers President in Iowa Indicted for Embezzlement

On March 22, Curtis Dean Lang, former president of United Dairy Workers of Le Mars, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on one count of embezzling $45,040 in funds from the Le Mars (near Sioux City) union, which represents employees of Wells Enterprises. Lang pleaded not guilty the next day at his arraignment, and was released on bond. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Enables Illegal Immigration; Shuns Fiduciary Duties

In the Trump era, information technology moguls have become more explicit in their conviction that America is first and foremost a global sanctuary. One of them, Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of the online lodging service Airbnb, is going that extra mile. The day after President Trump’s January 27 executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven terrorist Islamic-majority countries, Chesky announced his intent to provide free shelter to anyone barred from flights entering the U.S. as a result of the order. This gesture may or may not have been a violation of Trump’s action, but it almost certainly was a negation of fiduciary duty. The executive order later was overturned by a Seattle federal judge and upheld by an appeals court. It was overturned again in modified form by a Hawaii federal judge who only hours ago converted his temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction. Yet that should … Read More ➡