On May 18, Shiryll Durham, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1687, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to time served for taking and carrying, with the intent to steal, personal property from the Mountain Home (Johnson City) union. He also was ordered to pay $2,640 in restitution and a $25 fine. Durham had pleaded guilty in January after being charged in October 2014. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
“I want to make a difference” is a common statement of purpose for coming to work in the nation’s capital. Al Sharpton, no stranger to Washington during the Obama years, wants to make a difference. But given his track record, it will be the wrong kind. Last Wednesday and Thursday, July 8-9, Sharpton, under the banner of his New York City-based nonprofit National Action Network, sponsored a “Legislative and Policy Conference” on Capitol Hill. The well-attended event amplified his campaign to expand race-based affirmative action to uncharted areas of voting, sentencing, welfare reform and other policy areas. A parade of guest speakers urged the audience to pressure Congress to act. Like all of Reverend Al’s gambits, the campaign flies under the flag of “justice.” But given the planned core activity – lobbying – he may be skirting the law.
On June 19, John Earvin, former president of the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers (UFLEO), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to wire fraud in connection with his theft of nearly $50,000 from the Bellerose, Long Island, N.Y.-based union. He had been arrested and indicted in March following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Prosecutors had charged that Earvin had used his union ATM card to make hundreds of unauthorized cash withdrawals. UFLEO represents Special Inspectors for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
On June 11, John Jones, former financial secretary for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 59, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to embezzling more than $12,000 from the Spokane-based union. The plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Perhaps this latest sentence should convince Warren Annunziata of his lack of a future in organized labor. On June 19, Annunziata, founder and former longtime president of United Craft and Industrial Workers Union Local 91, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $126,858 in forfeiture and a $100,000 fine, for running a union-sponsored benefit fund despite having been banned from union activity due to an earlier conviction. He had pleaded guilty to extortion last November following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Office of Inspector General.
Eric Givens' job was to keep order on the nation’s passenger railroad. Unfortunately, he thought it also included stealing union money. On June 24, Givens, former secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 and the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of embezzling at least $100,000 from the New York-based labor organizations. Givens, an Amtrak police officer, had been arrested and charged last June with one count each of wire fraud, embezzlement and making a false statement, and indicted three weeks later. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S.
Leslie Hoffman has jumped off boats, fallen down stairs, and involved herself in more car crashes than she would like to remember. But when it comes to receiving compensation from her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Pension and Health Plan, the former movie and TV stuntwoman can’t buy a break. A federal appeals court over a year ago ordered plan administrators to reconsider their denial of her injury claims, but she has yet to receive a dime. Articles in the June 18 and June 24 issues of Deadline Hollywood have highlighted her travails, noting her case may be a turning point in the way SAG and its affiliate union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), treat stunt performers. “It’s a disgrace,” says Hoffman’s lawyer, Charles Fleishman. “She worked her whole life, and then nobody wants to be bothered with her.”
Teachers unions during the past decade have known their share of scandal. Add the case of Wayne Wedderman Jr. to the list. This Monday, June 29, Wedderman, treasurer of the Barnegat Education Association, pleaded guilty in Ocean County, New Jersey Superior Court to theft from the union. He had been arrested last November for stealing roughly a combined $23,000 from two union accounts in the wake of a county probe begun the previous month. A grand jury in February subsequently indicted Wedderman on two counts of theft and one count of computer theft. Sentencing is scheduled for September.
On June 12, Nathan McCallister, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 101, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Summers County, West Virginia to one count of embezzlement in an amount of more than $1,000 from the Hinton, W.Va. union. McCallister had been charged in March following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On June 16, Timothy Casperson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 249, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan for embezzling $9,650 from the Menominee, Mich.-based union and falsifying financial records to conceal the thefts. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.