On August 7, Brandon Kent, former treasurer for United Steelworkers Local 12-1097, pleaded guilty in the State of Oregon, Circuit Court of Clatsop County (in the northwest corner of the state), to two counts of theft from the Westport, Ore.-based union. He then was sentenced to 30 days in prison and three years of supervised probation, and was ordered to pay $19,911 in restitution and a $200 fine. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 28, Milton Hilliard, former secretary-treasurer of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 287, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $34,612 from the Washington, D.C.-based union. He had made unauthorized cash withdrawals and personal purchases from a union account. Hilliard had been charged in July with embezzling $25,575. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Al Sharpton turned 60 last Friday. That’s a psychological landmark in any man’s life. But if the New York-based civil rights activist, preacher, politician and media star is feeling blue, he can console himself with the reported $1 million in pledges from corporate and other donors to his nonprofit National Action Network (NAN). The celebration kicked off on Wednesday with a NAN-sponsored two-day education summit at New York University. On October 1, Sharpton held a private confab at Manhattan’s Four Seasons restaurant. The crème of New York Democratic Party politics were in attendance, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Charles Rangel and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. From the world of black arts and entertainment, Aretha Franklin and Spike Lee were present. For someone defined by his public demagoguery, Sharpton doesn’t lack for friends.
National Legal and Policy Center long has been focused on Reverend … Read More ➡
Michael Sewell avoided making benefit contributions by avoiding the necessary paperwork. His good luck streak was bound to end. On August 27, Sewell, owner-operator of MESCO Inc., a suburban Baltimore HVAC and plumbing supplier-service contractor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to one count of falsifying a document related to a benefit plan sponsored by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 24. Sewell had been charged in July following a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.
As Union Corruption Update reported last month, this criminal case grew out of a February 2012 civil suit in which a group of IBEW benefit plans along with Local 24 accused the Joppa, Md.-based MESCO, and another firm, Michael Sewell & Associates, of nearly $500,000 worth of wage/hour underreporting over more than four … Read More ➡
Labor officials are about the last people to be impressed by evidence that hiking the minimum wage drives up entry-level unemployment. These last several weeks they’ve been putting words into action in targeting fast food restaurants. Unions, led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), are retooling their campaign to establish a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast food employees, more than double the current $7.25 an hour basic federal minimum. Hundreds of protestors, though not necessarily union members, were arrested for blocking traffic on Labor Day. President Obama voiced his approval of the campaign that day in a speech. And the SEIU has called for a nationwide strike. Yet if supporters really wanted to do workers a good turn, they would focus on the real possibility that they may wind up driving a lot of restaurants out of business.
Department of Labor officials these past several years haven’t been shy about conveying their political preferences to their own labor force. An ongoing Capitol Hill probe has found out as much. Late last month the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report concluding that the Obama-era department has spent at least $725,000 on elevator posters, publicity contests and other forms of advocacy intended to boost employee morale. Most, if not all, of this motivational agitprop was the doing of first-term Secretary Hilda Solis. Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a longtime critic, noted: “This questionable activity has been going on for some time. As my staff has learned, in 2009 DOL began producing weekly elevator posters for the 23 passenger elevators at DOL’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.” Tax-funded ideology marches on.
It is the nature of any government agency, in ways overt and subtle, to advertise its own necessity … Read More ➡
On September 11, Anthony Davis, former president of National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 314, an affiliate of the Laborers union, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on one count of embezzling $40,659 in funds from the St. Louis-based union. He had been indicted in April following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Prosecutors had alleged that Davis, 51, a resident of O’Fallon, Ill., submitted fake invoices to the union and pocketed the reimbursements. Though maintaining his innocence, a jury, after a five-day trial, convicted him. Sentencing is set for early December.… Read More ➡
Considering what they most likely stole, Ryan Sherard and Fred Correll caught a break. On August 4, Sherard, former president of Graphic Communications International Union District Council 2, a Fullerton, Calif.-based Teamster affiliate, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to three years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service for filing a false union financial report related to his theft of more than $9,600 in union funds and filing a false tax return. That same day, Correll, ex-council treasurer, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine plus interest. Sherard and Correll, respectively, had pleaded guilty on April 23 and April 29. The actions follow a probe by the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Union Corruption Update first reported on this case in March. … Read More ➡
Ann Marie Shaffer was too clever by a half. On August 7, Shaffer, formerly the dues clerk for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of embezzling funds from the Detroit-based union in the amount of $101,059. The plea follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to the plea agreement, Shaffer for two years engaged “in a check substitution scheme whereby she received dues remittance checks from employers and set them aside without properly recording them.” After that, “an equal amount of cash was received [she] embezzled the cash by replacing it with the unrecorded checks. As the income from the checks was not properly recorded, the deposit appeared to balance.” Shaffer is scheduled for sentencing later this year.… Read More ➡
On August 4, Eric Barnett, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 171, was sentenced in the Circuit Court of the City of Portsmouth, Virginia, to four years of probation for embezzling funds from the Portsmouth union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,212. Barnett had pleaded guilty in May after being indicted last November. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡