Anyone who believes corruption in Detroit dissipated after the multiple convictions several years ago of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick should take a hard look at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324. On December 16, John Hamilton, business manager-general vice president of the Detroit union during 2003-12, was indicted by a federal grand jury on nine counts relating to various schemes of self-enrichment at the expense of rank and file. The indictment, the result of a multi-agency probe, accuses Hamilton of extortion, structuring, money-laundering, embezzlement and honest services fraud. The charges shed light not only on Hamilton’s relationship with Mayor Kilpatrick, but at least as importantly, his relationship with convicted financial manager John Orecchio, no stranger to these pages.
John M. Hamilton, now 61, moved to Riviera Beach (Palm Beach County), Florida after the end of his tenure as the top official of IUOE Local 324. Given the bad publicity … Read More ➡
On December 18, Sharon Williams-Savage, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2425, was indicted in the Superior Court of the City of Clifton, New Jersey on two counts of misapplication of entrusted property exceeding $1,000 and one count of unlawful taking of property exceeding $500. AFGE Local 2425 is based in East Orange, N.J., adjacent to Newark. The indictment follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the New Jersey State Criminal Division.… Read More ➡
On December 15, Dawn Colley, former office employee of United Steelworkers Local 8-719, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to concealing her theft of funds from the Ashland, Ky. union. She then was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $4,200 in restitution, on top of the $7,446 she previously had paid, plus a $25 special assessment. Colley had been indicted in October for embezzling $7,201. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On December 10, Jerry Vincent, formerly president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 783, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to six months of home confinement and three years of probation for embezzling $17,272.84 from the Louisville union. He also was ordered to pay $22,251 in restitution, a sum representing an unearned vacation advance as well as the stolen funds. Vincent had pleaded guilty last August to one count of embezzlement and 13 counts of falsifying union records following his July 2014 indictment. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
As in 2014, union leaders last year directed much of their energies toward maximizing political and legal advantage. And they scored tangible victories. President Barack Obama, now in his last year in office, is without question the best White House friend of organized labor in decades. Among other things, unions won major cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with its built-in 3-2 Democratic Party majority. And the Teamsters achieved its long-sought goal of release from federal control established following a 1989 civil racketeering settlement. Yet organized labor also experienced its share of setbacks, especially in the courts. And they received lots of unwanted exposure for embezzlement and fraud. As far as rank and file members are concerned, the most pressing problem is the growing possibility that their pension plans will be depleted.
The NLRB delivered two indisputably enormous victories for labor. As discussed at length last January, the … Read More ➡
Considering the nature of his offenses, Juan “Alex” Cedeno should consider himself fortunate. On December 10, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to three years of probation and 250 hours of community service for concealing his thefts from the Queens, N.Y. union, which since has moved to Edison, N.J. He also was ordered to pay $33,583 in restitution and a $25 special assessment. Cedeno had pled guilty last March after being arrested and charged in May 2014. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Prosecutors had alleged that Cedeno, a resident of Queens, during April 2009-October 2011 used his union credit card for various unauthorized purposes, including clothing purchases and hotel-casino visits. The thefts added up to $58,303. To conceal this activity, he … Read More ➡
Howard Royal stole from his state employees union. Now he owes some time to his state. On December 14, Royal, former president of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 304, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to six months of house arrest followed by six months of supervised probation for wire fraud in connection with thefts of $66,982.02 from the Harrisburg union. He had pleaded guilty last July. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to court documents, Royal, 50, a resident of Steelton, Pa., on more than a hundred occasions during December 15, 2009-November 16, 2010 made unauthorized electronic transfers and withdrawals from a union account for his own personal use. His guilty plea came nine days after he was charged in an information count. USGOA Local 304 represents security employees at Pennsylvania state … Read More ➡
On December 9, Donn Pendergrass, president of United Steelworkers Local 1191, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on one count of embezzling $33,435 in funds from the Mishawaka, Ind.-based union, which represented workers at the now-closed Allegheny Technologies metal casting plant in LaPorte. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On December 11, James Coffey, former president of United Steelworkers Local 5-887, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to one count of embezzling funds in the amount of $6,260 from the Newell, W.Va.-based union. Coffey, a resident of Bergholz, Ohio, had been indicted last October for stealing $7,098 in union funds. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
When it comes to standing up to racial shakedowns, political leadership is in short supply in Missouri, as it is in other states. On January 9, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (in photo), facing re-election, squared off against his Democratic opponent, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. The event, sponsored by the state’s Martin Luther King Celebration Commission, revealed a disturbing acquiescence by the candidates to the radical Black Lives Matter. A co-emcee kicked things off by declaring: “Black lives matter. Period.” Once at the podium, Sen. Blunt, rather than offer a rebuke, responded: “Black lives matter – we do need to say that.” Kander proved even worse. And they aren’t the only politicians in the state to roll over.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a national movement that matters – in all the wrong ways. Two weeks ago National Legal and Policy Center … Read More ➡