Carl Horowitz's blog

Michigan Carpenters Council Comptroller Charged with $500K Theft

Carpenters logoGlenn Robert Smith dodged a bullet nearly two years ago in a civil lawsuit filed by his union.  He might not be so fortunate this time around now that he’s facing federal criminal charges.  On July 1, Smith, former comptroller for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCC), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with an information count for embezzling $499,087 from the Detroit-area labor organization.  The charge follows a joint investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General. 

AFSCME Home Care Workers President in New York Sentenced

AFSCME logoOn June 26, Juanita Phillips, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 389, was sentenced in the Supreme Court of New York State to one year in prison for stealing funds in an unspecified amount from the New York City-based home care workers union.  She had pleaded guilty last September.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Boston Ex-Teamster Pleads Guilty to Unemployment Fraud

Teamsters logoThomas Flaherty can’t seem to stay away from trouble – or federal court.  On June 29, Flaherty, a former employee and member of the Boston-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 82, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to three counts of mail fraud in connection with state unemployment benefits that he had received while working full-time.  The plea follows a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the Boston Police Department.

Cincinnati Iron Workers Office Manager Pleads Guilty

Iron Workers logoOn July 15, Julie Skaggs, former office manager for International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 372, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one count of embezzlement of $51,491 in funds from the Cincinnati-based union.  She had been charged in March.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Southwest Ohio CWA Financial Secretary Sentenced for Theft

On July 1, Thomas Wolfer, former financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84729, was sentenced in the State of Ohio, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, to three years of community service, and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution plus court costs, for theft from the Fayetteville, Ohio union.  Wolfer had pleaded guilty in March to one count of felony theft.  The actions follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UGSOA Local President in Pennsylvania Charged; Pleads Guilty

UGSOA logoHoward Royal spent only 11 months ripping off his union.  That was plenty of time to do well for himself.  On July 17, Royal, former president of United Government Security Officers of America Local 304, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one count of wire fraud in connection with his thefts totaling $66,989.02 from the Harrisburg union.  He had been charged nine days earlier, with the Justice Department filing a tentative plea agreement along with the information count.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. 

IATSE Treasurer for Wisconsin District Council Sentenced

IATSE logoOn July 6, Ira Alper, former treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees District 9, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to four months of imprisonment to be followed by two years of supervised release, including six months of home detention, for theft of funds from the Madison, Wisc.-based labor organization.  The offenses occurred in Illinois.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $41,568 plus a $100 special assessment.  Alper had pleaded guilty back in October 2013 to embezzling $76,768 in funds.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Painters Bookkeeper in Boston Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Painters logoOn July 22, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to one count of embezzlement of $40,930 in funds from the Roslindale (Boston)-based union.  She had been charged in June following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenge to Forced Public Employee Unionism

When it comes to coercion, government employee unions are masters of the game.  But now they must contend with masters of the courtroom.  On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA), a case previously dismissed by district and appeals courts.  Several school teachers across California, led by an Orange County teacher, Rebecca Friedrichs (in photo), assert that the CTA has no authority to levy political fees on non-members without prior consent.  In light of its 2012 Knox decision, and the political character of many “non-political” bargaining issues, the Court may overturn its 1977 Abood ruling authorizing the public-sector union shop.  The CTA and allies counter, less than convincingly, that the plaintiffs are “free riders” mooching off dues-paying members. 

Ex-President of Operating Engineers Local in Michigan Charged

IUOE logoOn June 19, Steven Minella, former president and business agent of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with failing to report to appropriate authorities the commission of extortion by another official of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. local.  The charge follows a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

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