Broward Teachers Union

Broward County Teachers Boss Sentenced for Fraud, Kickbacks

Florida education logoPatrick Santeramo’s union career ended several years ago, but the fallout continues.  On April 22, Santeramo, who had run the Broward Teachers Union for a decade, was sentenced in Fort Lauderdale federal court to 18 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for wire fraud in a school district-funded, union-run program.  He also was ordered to pay $93,800 in restitution and a $4,000 fine.  The prison term will run  consecutive to a five-year sentence handed down days earlier in a state case involving allegations of contractor kickbacks and false reimbursements.  Santeramo was convicted in January by a jury in the state case; he pleaded guilty in February in the federal case.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

South Florida Teachers Boss Convicted of Fraud, Theft

Florida educationEducators have been responsible for some of the more flagrant cases of union corruption in recent years.  Patrick Santeramo, for one, doesn’t need any reminders of that.  On January 20, Santeramo, former president of the Broward Teachers Union, the Broward County, Florida affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, was convicted by a state jury on various theft, fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations.  Only weeks later, on February 12, he pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale federal court to one count of mail fraud.

Broward County, Florida Teachers President Charged with Massive Thefts

American Federation of Teachers logoPat Santeramo enjoyed the perks of running a union. Unfortunately, evidence suggests he couldn't tell legal from illegal ones. Last Tuesday, July 10, Santeramo, former president of the Broward Teachers Union (BTU), the Broward County, Florida affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), surrendered to county authorities in downtown Fort Lauderdale to face charges that he misappropriated nearly $300,000 from the 11,500-member union. Local leaders say, if anything, that figure is well on the low side. His lawyer, Benedict Kuehne, denies all 19 charges, which include racketeering, grand theft, fraud, money laundering, and illegal campaign contributions. "We believe that Pat Santeramo will be vindicated of those accusations," said Kuehne. His client is free on $480,000 bond.

Ex-South Florida Boss Sentence to 46 Months

U.S. Dist. Judge William P. Dimitrouleas (S.D. Fla., Clinton) sentenced ousted Broward Teachers Union boss  Anthony J. Gentile to 46-month in prison Feb. 8 on child pornography charges. Gentile, once a giant in Florida education and labor relations circles, struggled to compose himself as he apologized to his family, to the union he helped create, and to the court before his sentence was imposed.

Gentile, who began as a teacher in Pennsylvania and rose to command the fifth-largest teachers union in the country, was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, in addition to the jail time, for indictments in Alabama and Florida. He will not be allowed to work with minors or be involved with youth organizations when he is released.

South Florida Boss Pleads Guilty

Longtime Broward (Fla.) Teachers Union president Tony Gentile admitted Nov. 30 that he arranged for a sexual tryst with an Internet pal he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Gentile, who resigned last month after 22 years as head of the BTU, faces a likely prison term after pleading guilty to federal charges of attempting to entice a minor into a sex act and sending child pornography over the Internet. Gentile was arrested July 26 in a sting that started four months earlier in Ala. and ended at a Circle K store in Ft. Lauderdale, where Gentile discovered that the girl he had been corresponding with was actually an undercover cop. He was indicted by federal grand juries in Florida and Alabama.

South Florida Boss Indicted

Broward Teachers Union president Tony Gentile surrendered to U.S. Marshals after his indictment Aug. 30 on federal child pornography charges. Gentile is charged with one count of trying to induce a minor into engaging in a sexual act and one count possession of child pornography, according to the indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The charges carry a combined penalty of up to 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

The union boss was arrested July 26, when he allegedly showed up outside a Ft. Lauderdale store where he planned to meet an Internet acquaintance who had presented herself as a 14-year-old girl. The "girl" was an undercover police detective working with a special task force that handles crimes against minors over the Internet. Gentile has run the union in since 1979 and has taken an indefinite leave of absence since his arrest.[Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale) 8/31/01]

Florida Boss Arrested for Child Pornography

Anthony J. Gentile, Broward Teachers Union president, was arrested on child pornography charges July 26 after reportedly arriving for a rendezvous with a 14-year-old girl. Gentile was charged in Broward Cir. Court with one count of sexual performance by a child, one count of computer pornography, and four counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor -- third-degree felonies punishable by a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. Authorities are determining whether to file federal charges. Gentile has been president of BTU since 1979.

The "girl" was Detective Richard Love with Law Enforcement Against Child Harm task force. Gentile was arrested at 10 a.m. outside a Ft. Lauderdale store where investigators say he planned to meet the girl. He left the county jail at 3:30 p.m. on $16,000 bail.

New Subpoenas Stir Florida Probes

Federal labor racketeering investigators are looking into the possible misuse of $210 million worth of employee insurance contracts in the Broward Co. (Fla.) School Dist. After 30 months of apparent dormancy, the investigation is alive again with grand jury subpoenas delivered Feb. 12. The subpoenas requested minutes of the Superintendent's Insurance Committee. A key member of that committee is Broward Teachers Union president Tony Gentile. [Sun-Sentinel 2/17/99]

Alternatively, the subpoenas may be targeting Fed. of Public Employees boss Walter "Buster" J. Browne. Brown heads a union the represents many non-teacher School Board employees and he is a member of the Insurance Committee. The union boss is also the ex-Port Everglades Commission chairman. Investigators have been looking into payment to Browne since Jan. 1992 from local shipping firms and two other unions: Dania Beach Am. Maritime Officers and Teamsters Local 769. Further, they're interested in Browne's influence on the Insurance Committee. Browne has a corrupt history. In 1996, he pled guilty to mail-tampering to rig a union election. He just finished two years probation.

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