Michael Nelson's blog

Problems Continue at DC 37: $15 Million Stolen from Credit Union ATMs

Some 4,000 govt and health workers took advantage of electronic breakdowns after Sept. 11 to loot ATMs operated by the credit union used by members of District Council 37 of the Amer. Fed. of State, Cnty. & Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME), acc. to an indictment announced on Aug. 6 by NYC Dist. Attny. Robert Morgenthau.

Ex-Calif. Bay Area Chief Indicted for "Sham Charities"

A former Santa Clara County Sheriffs Lieutenant and ex-union president was indicted August 2 for trading on the union's name to raise funds for sham charities.

According to the indictment by a Santa Clara grand jury, Armand Tiano and 12 alleged co-conspirators engaged in grand theft, tax evasion and money laundering that involved at least $1.4 million. Among the false charities were two created after the 1998 slaying of Millbrae police officer David Chetcuti. Allegedly, Tiano and the others persuaded many people to write checks for the "Officer Chetcuti Fund" and the "Millbrae Officer Family Trust Fund." The widow, Gail Chetcuti, never received any of those funds.

In his heyday, Tiano oversaw the county jails, presided over the Santa Clara Deputy Sheriffs Assn; and twice campaigned for Sheriff. In 1993, Tiano incorporated his own fund-raising group, the Deputy Sheriiffs' Sports Assn, and contracted with two brothers, George and Matthew Kellner, who already owed the union $100,000 in charity fund-raising. The brothers then began paying off Tiano from the ostensible charity to take advantage of "his official position and contacts" acc. to the indictment.

Duo of Des Moines Officers Confess to $100K plus Theft

Two frmr. officers of Local 177 of the Laborers Intl. Union of N. America confessed in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for Sou. Iowa on July 25 to stealing more than $120,000 from the union's local and job-training funds.

Frmr. Bus. Mgr. Fred T. Risius and ex-vice-pres. Henry A. Jannnenga began their mutual crime spree in Nov. 1999, acc. to the Stipulation of Facts in the Plea Agreement. At month's end, Risius paid a union member $16,500, supposedly for materials he had sold to the Local's apprenticeship program. The member split the cash between himself, Risius and Jannenga.

Ex-Bus. Agent Indicted in Pittsburgh for Embezzling Strike Funds

A federal grand jury  indicted a Butler man on August 7 for stealing more than $150,000 from his union from 1993 through 1998. John L. Dorrier Jr., former business agent for Operating Engineers Local Union 66, in Monroeville, is also accused of hiding his thefts from the IRS.

Beginning in January 1993, acc. to the indictment, Dorrier used his responsibility of reimbursing picketers by preparing expense vouchers for individuals who had done no picketing, then insisted on collecting the checks personally rather than having them mailed. Dorrier then allegedly forged the payees' signatures on the endorsement lines, and either cashed or deposited them into his account. To hide these payments from the IRS, Dorrier allegedly kept records of his fictitious picketers, and limited the amount "paid" to under $600 to avoid triggering the filing of 1099 tax forms. He also paid cash to relatives and friends that went unreported to the IRS. When some of the "picketers" began receiving 1099 tax forms, Dorrier paid them not to report the problem to the IRS.

Ex Secy.-Treas. Indicted for Embezzling 3/4th of OH Local's Funds

Martin Mone, ex-Secy.-Treasurer of United Auto Wrkrs. (UAW) Local 1052 in Bedford, Ohio, was indicted July 24 on one count of union embezzlement and one count of falsifying union records. U.S. Attny. Emily Sweeney announced the indictment, which came in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Cleveland.

According to the indictment, Mone embezzled $6,264 from the union in 2000 by issuing checks to himself, and falsifying the purpose of the checks on their memo lines. According to the union's LM-4 financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Mone also destroyed the Local's financial records. That form lists the union's total receipts in 2000 as $8,429. Mone's alleged embezzlement amounted to nearly 75% of 1052's funds that year. In 2001, Local 1052 was merged into UAW Local 70, also in Bedford. The embezzlement charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the falsification charge carries a amaximum of on year in jail and a $100,000 fine. [U.S.A.O. N.Dist. OH, 7/24/02:  DOL 8/8/02]

9th Circ. Ct. of Appeals Blocks Unions Fee Demands for Undisclosed Politicking

The Natl. Right to Work Fdtn. announced on Aug. 2 that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that local affiliates of the California Teacher Association (CTA) must provide teachers with an independent verification of how they spend employees' forced union dues.

With the help of attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the case was brought by San Jose teacher Kim Sheffield, and seven other California teachers, against the CTA and eight of its locals in March 2000. The Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed the U.S. District Court ruling that the locals cannot collect agency fees until they provide an independent verification of how their agency fees were calculated. Without an outside accountant's verification, non-members cannot determine whether they are being forced to pay for union activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as the union's political agenda.

Ex-Garment Union Bookkeeper in NE Penn. Confesses to Embezzlement

Seven years after the Intl. Ladies Garment Wrkrs. Union was merged into the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees, federal courts are still dealing with the leftover corruption. On July 23, a frmr bookkeeper for the garment union pled guilty  in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Scranton to embezzling more than $28,000 from the union's now-defunct district council.

Diane Lewis used her position to steal funds from the N.E. Penn. Dist. Cncl. of the Ladies Garment Union from July 1995 to August 1997.  During that time, that union and the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) were merging to form UNITE. Lewis faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. [U.S.A.O. M.D. Pa, 7/23/02]

Excerpts from John Sweeney's speech at Wall Street Rally, July 30, 2002

"We witness the sorry spectacle of Gary Winnick, the CEO of Global Crossing, selling off $734 million in stock while urging his employees to buy more, and then using the money to purchase a $92 million dollar mansion in Bel Air."
 
Uh, would this be the same Global Crossing that received millions in investment dollars from ULLICO, a union pension fund-owned insurance company with a board that included John Sweeney and numerous other union officials?  A federal grand jury and the U.S. Dept. of Labor are now investigating insider stock trades that apparently enriched ULLICO board members at the expense of rank-and-file union members.  While Sweeney claims not to have participated in the stock deals, he sat on the ULLICO board while others did.

"[W]e insist that the Securities and Exchange Commission and all three stock exchanges agree to a single higher standard for publicly-traded corporations. That standard must...prohibit CEOs from selling their company stock while they are in office."

Ex-Secy.-Treas. Admits Stealing $90K from Stockton, Calif., Local

United States Attorney John K.Vincent announced on July 19 that Mary Dolores Anderson pled guilty to embezzling nearly $90,000 as a union officer from 1993 to 1999. Anderson faces a sentence of up to five years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine. Her sentencing is scheduled for October 4, 2002 before U.S.District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell,Jr. (E.D. Calif., G.H.W. Bush)

According to Asst. U.S.Attorney Christopher P. Sonderby, who is prosecuting the case, Anderson served from 1993 to 1999 as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Communication Workers of America Local 9417, a Stockton union made up of about 700 Pacific Bell employees in San Joaquin County. In FY 2000, the Local had $189,307 in receipts, 94% of which came in the form of members' dues, acc. to the union's LM-3 financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Labor Dept.

Elected Twin Cities Leaders Sue Hoffa over Removal from Office

Elected leaders of Teamsters Local 2000 sued Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa in a Detroit fed. court July 25, contending Hoffa illegally removed them from office.

On July 1, Hoffa ousted the officers of the Local that represents more than 11,500 Northwest flight attendants after they refused to fight an organizing effort by some attendants trying to form an independent union. The suit calls for reinstatement of the elected leaders and withdrawal of the trusteeship that Hoffa also imposed on the 1st.

Ousted president Danny Campbell said that he and other officers filed suit because they believe Hoffa violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, and violated Campbell's free-speech rights with the removal. "Essentially that law was designed to provide a more democratic infrastructure in local unions," Campbell said. He argued that top Teamsters officials "removed us from office for political reasons, rather than what they cited we were unwilling to do."

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