Federal prosecutors Dec. 16 charged Alan B. Bond, president of Albriond Cap. Mangmnt., a N.Y-based advisory firm whose largest client was the $2.3 billion pension fund of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 in Washington, D.C., with taking $6.9 million in kickbacks from brokerage firms to help pay for lavish gifts to ex-Local 689 boss James Thomas.
A fed. grand jury rendered an 11-count indictment against Bond, accusing him of conspiracy, fraud, bribery and making false statements. SEC also filed suit alleging Bond used some of the kickback money to purchase gratuities for pension fund trustees. Specifically, Bond allegedly provided Thomas, who also was a trustee of the fund, with tickets to Dallas Cowboy football games and Broadway shows, paid for his rooms at the prestigious St. Regis Hotel in N.Y., bought him expensive clothes and dinners, and supplied him with limousines and plane tickets. Thomas allegedly received gratuities worth at least $15,000. Thomas wasn't named in the suits. SEC attorney Clifford C. Hyatt said the investigation is continuing.
On Jul. 20, the U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Robert Kellas, former-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843 in Bellingham, WA, to a year and a day in prison and ordered him to pay $78,248 in restitution on top of $70,000 already paid. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release after facing a maximum of 5 years in prison. On Apr. 23, Kellas pled guilty to embezzling between $70,000 and $120,000 from Local 843 and the ATU Legislative Council of Washington State. He was president of Local 843 from 1990-97 and secretary-treasurer of the Legislative Council from 1994-97. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Kellas' scheme was simply writing checks to himself from the 2 unions. [Seattle Times 04/24/98 & 07/21/98]
Union Corruption Studies Available The Public Service Research Council just published 2 timely studies: "Fraud Prevalent in Prevailing Wage Surveys" & "The Case Against Public Sector Unionism & Collective Bargaining." To get a copy call 703-242-3575.
"It is good that a prolonged bus strike has been averted in Worcester. But the question is: at what price? [The] one-day strike, staged by the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, was described as an "illegal" job action by Robert E. Ojala, administrator of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. That may have been an understatement. The specter of labor action by this union has been lingering for some time. It threatened to picket the Worcester Centrum Centre during the Democratic State Convention, but a last-minute compromise negotiated by the city manager and the mayor saved the city from embarrassment.