It took more than six years for Richard Wayne Johnson to be found out as an embezzler. And it took more than three years for justice to prevail. What matters in the end is that it did. On September 14, Johnson, former secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to 18 months in prison, plus three years of probation upon release, for stealing almost $275,000 from the Phoenix-based transit workers union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. Johnson had pleaded guilty this June following an investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Johnson, now 49, a resident of Surprise (near Phoenix), Ariz., became secretary-treasurer of ATU Local 1433 in 2005 after serving a few years as vice president. Eventually, certain union members noticed their organization was short on funds. In the … Read More ➡
On August 7, Mark Durinski, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 294, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine with three counts of making false statements on financial reports of the Limestone, Maine-based local. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 6, Jimmy Bynum, president of American Allied Workers Local 944, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois with one count of embezzling funds of an unspecified sum from the Pembroke Township (Kankakee County), Ill.-based union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Workers might not like being forced to pay dues to a union, but they should be grateful anyway because they see more on their paychecks – so goes a common justification offered by union officials for such coercion. Yet a new Heritage Foundation Issue Brief makes a convincing case that this view leaves out at least as much as it includes. The author, Heritage fellow and labor issues analyst James Sherk, concludes that after fully taking into account the cost of living, private-sector wages in states with Right to Work laws (i.e., laws barring forced dues payments) are not significantly different from those in states without such laws. Moreover, while Right to Work laws do slightly reduce public employee pay, they also save taxpayers money. The study is at once a sequel and a rebuke to one published in April by the Left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
The National Labor Relations … Read More ➡
On August 20, Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to five months of incarceration, to be followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release, for embezzling funds from the Rochester (Beaver County), Pa.-based union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $31,528. Trembulak had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted in July 2014. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 18, Karen McJimpson, former executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 4004, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with embezzling about $19,000 in funds from the Detroit union. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The good old days of union nepotism never really went away – not in Chicago anyway. According to published sources, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727, long a virtual candy store for boss John Coli Sr. (in photo, on right) and extended family, has been providing lavish compensation for a law firm whose managing partner is one of Coli’s sons. The firm has been busy as of late. In July, a Cook County judge ruled that the elder Coli and Teamsters Local 700, of which he is a trustee, were jointly liable for $2.3 million for breaking a building lease. That’s not even taking into account a now-dismissed RICO suit charging the Colis and Local 727 with stiffing a funeral employee pension plan out of contributions. If the family needs allies, it knows where to look, especially Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Park … Read More ➡
Jerry Thomas Vincent Jr. hasn’t run his union for four years. But the experience continues to catch up with him. On August 17, Vincent, formerly president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 783, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to one count of embezzling $17,272.84 in funds during 2009-11 from the Louisville-based union and 13 counts of falsifying records to cover up the thefts. Vincent had been indicted in July 2014 for committing thefts totaling this amount and for receiving $23,760 in unauthorized loans. He is scheduled for sentencing in December. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 19, Kenneth Vanderwyst, former vice president and then president of the Fairbanks chapter of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska with embezzling $9,541 from a union account from late 2012 through April 7, 2015. He also was charged with fraud in the amount of $5,535.55 over a one-year period via use of gift cards and an access device. The charges follow a Labor Department investigation and a grand jury indictment.
Vanderwyst, 54, a resident of Fairbanks, has problems besides an apparent impulse to steal. Back in December 2013, he had been issued a summons for an incident occurring three months earlier. According to court records, Vanderwyst, highly upset that another motorist had honked his horn at him (after Vanderwyst had cut him off in traffic), followed the other driver back to his home, and once having … Read More ➡
Betty Martin and Duane Rush saw their union as an open cash register. Now their case is closed. On June 5, Martin and Rush, respectively, the former president and vice president of the Transportation Aides of Buffalo, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to bank fraud. The pair had stolen a combined more than $120,000 in funds from the Buffalo-based labor organization, which represents school bus aides employed by the City of Buffalo. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Martin, 54, and Rush, 44, each a resident of Buffalo, served at their union posts during 2006-13. During much of that time, say prosecutors, they also enriched themselves by embezzling member dues. Martin stole $61,746, and Rush stole $59,683, through unauthorized debit card usage, cash withdrawals and checks from the union bank … Read More ➡