On October 17, Benjamin Wisecarver, former president of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on three counts of embezzlement, two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy for his role in a scheme that embezzled $57,310 from the Hampton, Va.-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
The Central American human caravan, at this writing somewhere in Mexico, still has a long way to go before it (illegally) reaches our southern border. The distance from its country of origin, Honduras, to the nearest U.S. city, McAllen, Tex., is more than a thousand miles. That’s quite a haul. The Bataan Death March of April 1942, an atrocity conducted at Japanese gunpoint, was only 65 miles long. Given the physical risks, there can be no doubt that the caravan’s march, under cover of humanitarian impulses, is being enabled from above. There is no other way these people could have traveled as far as they have. It thus should come as no shock that this project is the handiwork of a tight network of radical activists in America.
Susan Kyle proved extraordinarily clever. But in the end, she was not clever enough. On October 29, Kyle, former treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2428, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to embezzling $490,338 in funds from the Oakland-based union, which represents employees of East Bay Regional Parks. She also pleaded guilty to concealing her thefts in union financial records. As part of her plea, she agreed to pay full restitution. Kyle had been charged on October 5. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Kyle, now 61, served as treasurer of AFSCME Local 2428 during 1999-2014. According to prosecutors, she spent the last seven of those years ripping off the union. On numerous occasions, she instructed a third-party payroll processing company to issue unauthorized payments to herself and then … Read More ➡
For certain members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 858, out-of-town union events provided an opportunity for good side money. The issue is whether they attended those events or whether the events themselves even happened. On August 20, the City of Pasadena placed three municipal workers on leave in light of evidence that they received “highly questionable” payments from the union totaling nearly $65,000. The trio, plus two former City employees, are the focus of a separate ongoing AFSCME probe. Nobody has been arrested or charged. Indeed, police so far have not been called in to investigate. But union investigators believe that there is a real possibility of criminal activity. AFSCME Administrator Jeff Bigelow terms the expenses “unusual, inappropriate and possibly unlawful.”
AFSCME Local 858 represents nearly 300 employees of the City of Pasadena, located in the northern portion of Los Angeles County. Union members often … Read More ➡
Norman Seabrook once represented guards at Rikers Island, one of the nation’s toughest city jails. He now likely will do some serious prison time. On August 15, Seabrook (in photo), former longtime president of New York City’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), was found guilty by a Manhattan federal jury of honest services fraud and conspiracy related to a $60,000 bribe he had taken a few years earlier from the head of a now-bankrupt hedge fund in return for steering $20 million in COBA assets to the fund. The hedge fund CEO, Murray Huberfeld, and his emissary, Jona Rechnitz, already had pleaded guilty. Seabrook’s previous trial ended in a hung jury last November. “I will be vindicated because God is still on his throne,” said Seabrook after his conviction, vowing to appeal. Sentencing is set for November 30.
The Supreme Court’s Janus decision four months ago, which overturned the authority of public-sector unions to force nonmember employees under contract to pay dues or risk losing their jobs, has taken some unexpected turns. Indeed, barely after the ruling, a Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit group, the Buckeye Institute, filed separate suits on behalf of a high school teacher in Ohio and a college professor in Minnesota challenging the authority of their respective unions to bargain exclusively. In effect, the plaintiffs seek to be freed from representation they never requested in the first place. “These capable public servants have the right to speak for themselves and should be released from forced association with unions and advocacy with which they disagree,” said Institute President Robert Alt. The unions have a different view.
Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 was the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision on public-sector unionism in more than 40 … Read More ➡
For nearly five years, Timothy Carrol Smith used his union as a cash dispensary. He now has some time to think about the consequences. Last Friday, October 19, Smith, formerly secretary-treasurer for Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 84, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to eight months in prison, plus three years of supervised release, for embezzling slightly over $80,000 in funds from the Anchorage-based union, which represents about 70 civilian employees at Elmendorf-Richardson Joint Air Force Base. Smith had pleaded guilty in April after being charged in February. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Smith, now 49, a resident of Wasilla, served in various positions with Civilian Technicians Chapter 84 during 2007-15. According to federal prosecutors, he used much of that time to enrich himself at the expense of dues-paying union members. During January 2011-September 2015, … Read More ➡
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 ➡
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 ➡
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 ➡