AFGE President in Maine Pleads Guilty to False Reporting

afge logo_0On September 14, Mark Durinski, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 294, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to three counts of making false statements in annual financial reports in connection with his claims of travel and other expenses for which he already had been reimbursed by his employer, the Defense Finance Accounting Service.  As part of his plea agreement, he also will have to make restitution in the amount of $53,544 to the Limestone, Maine union.  Durinski, now 63, had been charged on August 7.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Vice President of AFGE Local in Minnesota Charged with Theft

afge logo_0On August 31, Edward Barker, former vice president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 899, was charged in the Hennepin County Court of Minnesota with one count of theft from the Minneapolis-based union in the amount of $1,790 during March 2013-July 2013.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Security Employees Local President in Texas Pleads Guilty to Theft

spfpaOn August 27, Cynthia Angulo, former president of the Currency and Security Handlers Association, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to one count of embezzling $61,200 in funds from the Houston-based union, an affiliate of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).  The plea follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Arizona Court of Appeals Curbs Public-Sector Union ‘Release Time’

union-privilegeConducting union business and performing employment duties are two activities that don’t, and shouldn’t, overlap.  Yet in a number of jurisdictions, taxpayers are being forced to pay for both.  In Arizona, at least, this trend has hit a detour.  This August, the Arizona Court of Appeals, affirming a lower court decision, ruled that a Memorandum of Understanding forcing the City of Phoenix to compensate local cops for union activity, while not necessarily violating the state constitution’s Gift Clause, imposed grossly excessive costs.  This was a significant, if incomplete victory for public accountability.  And further pushback against release time clauses is occurring in courts and legislatures across the nation.

Public-sector unions are private organizations.  Their activity does not serve a public purpose.  While government workers have the right to form or join a labor organization, there is no reasonable justification for allowing them to forcibly enlisting the general public to … Read More ➡

Former Detroit Police Union Vice President Sentenced for Fraud

detroitCorruption ran rampant in Detroit during the tenure of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now serving a 28-year sentence in federal prison. Many people as well as Kilpatrick have paid a high price. One of them was Paul Stewart. On September 29, Stewart, former vice president of the Detroit Police Officers Association and trustee of the police pension fund, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit honest services fraud through bribes and kickbacks. He also must pay restitution of a sum yet to be determined. Stewart had been convicted by a jury last December. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update described the details of this case early this year. … Read More ➡

Postal Workers Secretary in South Carolina Indicted for $200K+ in Thefts

postal-workers-logoOn September 1, Sharon Holmes, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 807, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on one count of embezzling $41,823 from the Columbia, S.C. union; one count of wire fraud in the amount of $178,330; and one count of fraud and related activity in connection with access devices.  The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Missouri Steelworkers Local Treasurer Indicted for Theft

steelworkers-logoOn October 7, Terry Aters, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 11-7686, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on one count of embezzling $153,434 in funds from the Marston (New Madrid County)-based union.  The union represents about 850 workers at the Noranda Aluminum plant in Marston, located in the southeast corner of the state.  The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Teamsters Central States Pension Fund Puts PBGC in Jeopardy

CONGRESS PORTSDecades ago, the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund was a project of organized crime.  In the future, it may well be a project of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that insures pension plans against insolvency.  Ironically, this could put PBGC itself at risk.  This September, the troubled fund, which enrolls over 400,000 active and retired union members in 37 states, filed a restructuring plan with the Treasury Department proposing benefit cuts of nearly 23 percent.  The action is the first under a new law.  Central States Executive Director-General Counsel Thomas Nyhan explains:  “The longer we wait to act, the larger the benefit reductions will have to be.”  Yet the union, with help from Congress, helped bring about this dilemma.

The Rosemont, Ill.-based Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund, or as it is simply known, the Central States Pension Fund, is the largest of the Teamsters-sponsored pension … Read More ➡

Laborers Bookkeeper in Los Angeles Sentenced for Theft

liuna logoOn September 14, Sergio Rascon Jr., former bookkeeper assistant for Laborers International Union of North America Local 300, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment for embezzling $2,417 from the Los Angeles union.  Rascon had pleaded guilty in June.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Washington State Carpenters Local Secretary Sentenced

carpenters-logoOn September 9, John Jones, former financial secretary of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 59, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to two months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling more than $12,000 in funds from the Spokane-based union.  He also was ordered to pay $10,762 in remaining restitution and a $100 special assessment.  Jones had pleaded guilty in June.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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