For Juan “Alex” Cedeno, the party’s over. And the bill has come due. On March 6, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of false-record keeping in connection with his theft or misappropriation of more than $90,000 in funds from the Queens, N.Y. union. Cedeno had been arrested and charged last May after a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
It was a scam that was the talk of Florida. And two cops, both leaders in their police union, played no small part in making it happen. This past January, Nelson Cuba, former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), pleaded guilty to three charges related to his transferring more than $500,000 in funds from an illegal gambling enterprise to his own use. Ex-FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas had pleaded guilty last April. The convictions were part of a state probe into a gambling and money-laundering operation nominally run by a charity. Participants netted nearly $300 million until the ring was busted two years ago. Though not among the 57 arrested, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned amid a finding by state investigators that during her years as a legislator she had been a consultant on behalf of the charity.
Stephanie Hicks wrote lots of checks from her union accounts. The problem is that they didn’t always go to cover union expenses. Hicks, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2207, was arrested and charged on March 11 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of Alabama with embezzling more than $132,000 in funds from the Birmingham-based union, which represents employees at the VA hospital in that city. She was arrested on March 11 after a being indicted by a grand jury in February for bank fraud, forgery and aggravated identity theft. The charges follow a joint probe by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On March 4, Gregory Hill and Danny Rawls, respectively, vice president and member of Local 2297 of the United Auto Workers, each were indicted on nine counts in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana related to their aiding and abetting embezzlement in excess of $12,000, uttering forged checks, and conspiracy to commit forgery against the Shreveport-based union. The indictments follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On February 23, Henry Shuler, former treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1892, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with one count of embezzlement of funds from the Houston union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 3, Jeffrey Jones, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one year of probation for embezzling $7,649 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va. union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. Jones had pleaded guilty in November after being charged in October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Anyone seeking a first-hand look at the timidity of corporate America should look no further than Intel Corp. This January, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based semiconductor chip maker announced it would set aside $300 million by 2020 for hiring, training and promoting “underrepresented” racial minorities and women. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich revealed the plan at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas only weeks after he and other top company officials had met privately with Jesse Jackson.
Nothing underscores the Obama adminstration's failure on race relations more than its reaction to the wounding by gunfire in the wee hours last Thursday of two St. Louis-area cops at a Ferguson demonstration. Police Saturday night arrested Jeffrey Williams, a 20-year-old black who admitted to firing the shots but claimed he was aiming at someone else. Civil rights activists, predictably, are condemning Williams and denouncing “racist” police. The Department of Justice, which helped create this situation, is responding similarly. The outcome could be a nationwide law enforcement disaster.
On February 26, Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the Fort Knox-based union in an amount of over $10,000. The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.
Managing the finances of a teachers union can be lucrative, especially if it means extra, and illegal, income. Rae Dawn Grillo has discovered that thefts usually are found out. On February 18, Grillo, former treasurer of the Charleroi Area Educational Association, was arrested and charged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Washington County (Pittsburgh area) Court, with three felony counts related to her embezzlement of more than $65,000 in funds from the Charleroi-based union over a five-year period. And yesterday, March 16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek an indictment following her agreement to plead guilty to local charges.