On August 28, Michael Pontician, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 480, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to falsifying records to conceal the embezzlement of funds from the Pottsville (Schuylkill County), Pa.-based union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On September 12, James Babcock, financial secretary of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) Local 121, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland with embezzling about $24,000 in funds over a five-year period from the Baltimore union. According to the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, Babcock “wrote in excess of one hundred (100) checks to himself drawn against the union operating account, converting the proceeds to his own personal use and benefit, and making misrepresentations on the memo lines of the checks.” In a May interview, Babcock allegedly admitted to investigators that “he intentionally stole the union’s dues during the relevant period because he was having financial difficulties.” The Labor Department also charges that he made “materially false statements and misrepresentations” on union annual financial reporting forms. UE Local 121 represents machinists at the Baltimore-based Clendenin Brothers Inc.… Read More ➡
Robert Perez made a living as a fire detective. But for the last several months the retired employee of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department had police detectives on his trail. And the police search seems to have paid off. On August 30, Perez, a former captain and insurance investigator with the department, turned himself in to county sheriff’s office for arrest. Evidence indicated that over a roughly six-year period he had stolen approximately $114,000 from his union, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2046, and on top of that, submitted false tax returns. Perez was released on his own recognizance after a court rescheduled his arraignment date. He faces up to eight years in prison.
Santa Barbara County, California, now with a population of more than 400,000 to go along with its postcard-perfect Pacific coastline, is hardly immune to fires. And in Robert Joseph Perez, a resident of … Read More ➡
On August 21, Malvin Bergeron, former president and secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters-affiliated Graphic Communications Conference Local 537M, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to four years of probation for embezzling funds from the Marrero, La. union. He also was ordered to pay $4,041.88 in restitution and a $3,000 fine. Bergeron had been charged in early May, pleading guilty later that month. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 21, Dawn Carson, former office manager for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 247, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,509 for embezzling funds from the Portland union. She had been charged with stealing $6,900 in early March, and pleaded guilty later that month. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
For more than five years, Sheryl Daniels and Rhoshonda Herring stole from their union without detection. Now they’re getting more than their share of unwanted attention. On August 2, the two women, respectively, former president and former treasurer of United Teachers of Suwannee County (UTSC), turned themselves in to the Sheriff’s Office of Suwannee County, Florida for arrest in the face of evidence that they had embezzled UTSC funds in excess of $50,000. Last Monday, September 9, Herring and Daniels each pleaded not guilty to one count of grand theft. The union is a joint affiliate of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
The defendants have a tough road ahead if they take this to trial. Daniels, 56, and Herring, 39, each a resident of Live Oak, Fla., were public school teachers in Suwannee County, Florida, located in the northern part of the state between Jacksonville … Read More ➡
Employees at International Brotherhood of Boilermakers headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas are lavishly compensated even by the standards of free-spending unions. Yet one of those employees, Angela Heninger, couldn’t resist the compulsion to steal. On August 22, Heninger, sales and marketing director/office manager for a Boilermakers benefit fund called Mobilization, Optimization, Stabilization and Training Trust, or MOST, pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Kan. federal court to a superseding information count of embezzlement. She originally had been charged in April with one count of embezzlement, six counts of wire fraud, and five counts of bank fraud totaling about $50,000. Her true take was likely much higher. Last year MOST had indicated in a report to the Department of Labor (DOL) that around $480,000 was missing. A sentencing date has not been set.
On August 14, Christopher Wheeler, former president of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local 43, was indicted on two counts of theft totaling $3,769 in Medina County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court. The charges follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Sandy Hawkes had a problem with her bills. She may have created a far bigger problem by stealing from her union to pay them. On July 5, Hawkes, secretary-treasurer for the Somers Classified Education Association, was charged in Flathead County, Montana District Court with embezzling about $9,000 in union funds. She already had resigned from her regular job as a secretary at Lakeside Elementary School a month earlier. The charge follows an investigation by the sheriff’s office of fast-growing Flathead County, located in northwest Montana just south of the Canadian border. Hawkes pleaded not guilty on August 1. Given the evidence, one has to wonder why.
This spring the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation of what school officials suspected was more than $10,000 in missing funds from the Somers Classified Education Association, also known as the Somers Classified Employee Union, an affiliate of the Montana chapters of the National … Read More ➡
Those questioning the State of Michigan’s decision in March 2012 to take control of 15 Detroit city schools should consider the people working for the union representing its teachers – people, at least, like Sherri Patrick. On August 7, Ms. Patrick, formerly business manager of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with defrauding the union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, over a four-year period. The charge follows, belatedly, a complaint filed by the union with the Detroit Police Department.
Union Corruption Update initially covered this story in February 2010. The Detroit Federation of Teachers earlier that month had complained to local police that Ms. Patrick, a resident of Highland Park, Mich., had stolen about $75,000. She already had resigned her union post the previous April. Eventually, a federal investigation concluded they had enough evidence for a prosecution. Ms. Patrick during April 2005-April 2009 allegedly defrauded the AFT affiliate through forgery. The … Read More ➡