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.
Considering what they 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 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.
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.
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.
On July 31, Brian Stoneburner, former secretary-treasurer of International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 44, was indicted in Perry County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, on one count of grand theft of between $7,500 and $150,000 from the Newark, Ohio-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
If anyone thought the Obama administration planned to sit on the sidelines after the riots in Ferguson, Mo., those thoughts should be dispelled by now. Last Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder visited the suburban St. Louis community with the apparent ulterior motive of laying the groundwork for a federal criminal indictment against a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who on August 9 shot to death a local black youth, Michael Brown. Wilson, far from being a trigger-happy "racist" cop, very likely had acted in self-defense. Brown allegedly sucker-punched Wilson, tried to take his gun, and then, after walking away, violently charged at Wilson. Holder appears to put race above impartial law enforcement. Upon arrival, he stated at Florissant Valley Community College: "I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man."
On July 30, Dale Hull, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 261, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in a five-count indictment with embezzling more than $14,000 in funds from the Herington, Kan. union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On July 29, Milton Hilliard, former secretary-treasurer of Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America Local 287, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in an information count with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $25,575 from the Washington, D.C.-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Two years ago, in August 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department issued its so-called "sweep" rule forcing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to surrender all future profits. Shareholders were angered. Some sued the government. Their displeasure now has a measure of vindication. Near the end of July, an unnamed source leaked a confidential Treasury document (see pdf) to the public, dated June 13, 2011, showing that the department was willing to go to bat on behalf of outside investors, particularly The Blackstone Group, to facilitate purchases of equity stakes in the companies. At the time, Fannie and Freddie were rebounding from a deep slump, yet their management, under tight federal conservatorship since September 2008, had their hands tied. The latest revelations may strengthen the claims of existing shareholders, and more broadly, the cause of property rights.
On July 21, Michael Couch, former business manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 270, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to three years of probation for concealing his embezzlement of funds from the Tulsa-based union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,867. Couch had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted last September for stealing $12,825. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.