On June 8, Rodney Horne, former secretary-treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 34, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland to one count of theft from the Washington, D.C.-based union. He then received a sentence of five years of imprisonment, all of which was suspended, and 36 months of unsupervised probation, and ordered to pay $6,045 in restitution. The plea and sentence follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Prince George’s County Police Department.… Read More ➡
On June 11, Marcia Shull, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 661, was sentenced in the Circuit Court of Hancock County, Indiana to 180 days of house arrest and 550 days of probation for felony forgery from the Greenfield, Ind.-based union. She also will have to pay $168 in fines and costs on top of the $18,250 she already has paid. Shull had pleaded guilty in May after being charged last September following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
For about six years, Helen Herold-Roden had mastered the art of stealing from her union. But it’s hard to beat the law of averages. Last Thursday, June 18, Herold-Roden, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 7603, pleaded guilty (pre-indictment) in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho to one count of embezzling $138,658 in funds from the Meridian, Idaho-based union, which represents employees of area telecom companies such as AT&T and Century Link. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Sentencing is scheduled for September 8.
Herold-Roden, 49, a resident of Boise, had served in her union position from 2002 until July 2014. Starting in 2008, say federal prosecutors, she diverted union funds to pay for personal expenses. On about 28 occasions she wrote duplicate checks to herself. Moreover, on about 740 occasions, she used her ATM/debit card to make … Read More ➡
Whether one sees New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as confronting or punting, it’s hard to deny he knows a crisis when he sees one. The State Supreme Court sees one as well. On June 9, the Court ruled 5-2 that Christie was within bounds in delaying two years of contributions, nearly $2.5 billion, to the state’s chronically underfunded public-employee pension system. The ruling, a clear blow to the unions who brought forth the suit, for now averts a fiscal calamity. Critics claim that Christie, expected shortly to enter the Republican presidential race, broke a law he signed in 2011, passing the buck to his successors. Supporters counter that the ruling gives the legislature breathing room to fix a condition resulting from years of excessive union contract demands. The latter is a familiar story in other states, too.
For several years, state employee pension systems have threatened to become a national … Read More ➡
In film, TV and radio, a “residual” is a payment to the creator of a piece of work beyond the original screening or airing. Typically, the union distributes the money, once received from the studio. The production company gets 80 percent of the fees; the performers and supporting crew collect the other 20 percent. All this assumes the union administrator will forward the money. Michelle Dancy apparently doesn’t like that part. On May 21, Dancy, former office manager with the Residuals Estates and Trust Department of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with four counts of embezzlement from the Los Angeles-based union totaling at least $54,109 and five counts of false identification in connection with the alleged thefts. The charges follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General leading … Read More ➡
On May 21, Dennis Fuston, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 545, was sentenced in the Buchanan County (Missouri) Circuit Court to five years of probation, and ordered to pay restitution to the St. Joseph, Mo.-based union in the amount of $23,768 and a $25 assessment. Fuston had pleaded guilty in April to theft after being charged in February. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Access to reliable, high-speed Internet is almost given in today’s America. But should it be subsidized? The Federal Communications Commission thinks it should, now more than ever. On May 28, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced a proposal to expand the agency’s Lifeline program to include broadband Internet. Costing about $2 billion annually in recent years, Lifeline defrays the cost of landline or mobile phone service for low-income subscribers. Carriers and consumers share in the cost; Internet service providers soon may join them. Funding has risen so much under Obama that the program often is called ‘Obamaphone.’ Given the rampant fraud, the main issue would seem less the proper funding level than the program’s very existence.
Obamaphone, or whatever one wishes to call it, long predated the Obama presidency. The FCC created Lifeline in 1984 during the Reagan years as a means of enabling telecom companies to offer monthly service … Read More ➡
Richard Wayne Johnson may have thought his union wouldn’t find him out. He guessed wrong. This Tuesday, June 2, Johnson, formerly secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 and a bus driver for Valley Transit, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to embezzlement, fraud and forgery in an amount of nearly $275,000 from the union, which represents thousands of bus, para-transit and light rail operators in the Phoenix metro area. He faces 16 years in prison at his sentencing hearing in August.
Johnson served as a union official from 2005 until January 2012. Shortly after assuming his post, funds started disappearing. A fellow bus driver, Hayden Scheider, who worked side by side with Johnson, became suspicious. “I started calling around to the Labor Department and other people to find out what was going on with our financial reports,” he said. In the fall of … Read More ➡
On May 7, Marcia Shull, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 661, pleaded guilty in Hancock County, Indiana Circuit Court to one count of felony forgery. She had been charged last September with theft and forgery of an unspecified sum from the Greenfield, Ind.-based union after a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 11, Aide Spade, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 709, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to three years of probation for making false statements in financial records of the Littleton (suburban Denver)-based union to conceal her thefts. She also was ordered to pay $14,234 in restitution on top of the $44,935 in restitution she already paid, plus a $5,000 fine. Spade had pleaded guilty to one count of concealment in October after being indicted on four counts in June. AFGE Local 709 represents Colorado prison system employees. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡