Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)

Massachusetts Contractors Indicted for $2M+ LIUNA Double-Breasting Scheme

LIUNA logoEmployees of Christopher and Kimberly Thompson were being had, even if they weren’t aware of it until the hammer came down.  On January 26, the Thompsons, operators of a Boston-area asbestos removal company, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on 18 counts of mail fraud, 18 counts of benefit fraud and one count of embezzlement in a scheme to defraud members of a Laborers local out of more than $2 million in promised benefits.  The case has all the appearances of double-breasting.  Following their arrest, the couple pleaded not guilty in February and currently are free on bond.  As of this writing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office website indicates no subsequent action.  The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Boston Officials Indicted for Extortion on Behalf of IATSE Local

Boston City HallLocal government officials can be very creative when it comes to coaxing contractors to hire union labor.  And their methods aren’t necessarily legal.  On May 17, Kenneth Brissette, director of tourism, sports and entertainment for the City of Boston, was indicted by a federal grand jury for extortion; two days later he was arrested.  And on June 29, Brissette, along with Timothy Sullivan, City chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, received superseding indictments.  The defendants allegedly had required a concert promoter a couple of years ago that it would have to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11 in order to receive the necessary permits.  The indictments follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Suburban Chicago Contractor Execs Plead Guilty to Wage and Benefit Fraud

Road construction laborersContractors over the years have devised numerous ways of fleecing unionized workers out of their wages and benefits.  Joseph Lampignano and John Traversa probably rank as among the more creative of the bunch.  On June 3, Lampignano, co-owner and vice president of a Chicago-area construction firm, A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud for the purpose of facilitating a scheme to avoid paying workers about $2.6 million in wage and benefit contributions.  Traversa, the company superintendent, pleaded guilty that same day to one count of lying to investigators.  Each had been charged on May 18.  The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the Labor Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Laborers Local Treasurer in Arizona Sentenced for Fraud

LIUNA logoOn March 4, Therlen Benally, former treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, was sentenced in the Superior Court of Maricopa County (Ariz.) to three years of probation for theft from the Phoenix-based health care workers union.  She also was ordered to pay $1,220 in restitution and $215 in special assessments.  Benally had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted on 29 counts last October.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Laborers Local Business Manager in Arizona Sentenced

LIUNA logoOn February 4, Anne Susan, former business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, was sentenced in Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court to three years of probation for theft, identity theft and forgery against the Phoenix-based union.  She also was ordered to pay $18,056 in restitution.  Susan had pleaded guilty in January after being charged in October.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. 

Ex-Treasurer of Laborers Local in Arizona Pleads Guilty

LIUNA logoOn January 22, Therlen Benally, former treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, pleaded guilty in Maricopa County (Phoenix) Superior Court to theft, identity theft and forgery after being charged in a 29-count indictment last October.  Anne Susan, former business manager of the Phoenix-based local, had pleaded guilty this January on similar charges after being indicted in October.  Local 1386 represents certain area health care employees.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.   

Southern Illinois Laborers Local Bookkeeper Sentenced

LIUNA logoOn January 7, Carolyn Hall, former bookkeeper for Laborers International Union of North America Local 1197, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $100 assessment for embezzling $26,491 in funds from the McLeansboro (Hamilton County), Ill.-based union.  She had pleaded guilty last August after being charged that April.  Hall previously had made full restitution.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

LIUNA Business Manager in Phoenix Pleads Guilty

LIUNA logoOn January 4, Anne Susan, former business manager of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, pleaded guilty in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court to theft, identity theft and forgery.  She had been charged with a 24-count indictment last October 5.  Charged in a 29-count indictment the same day for forgery and other offenses was former Local 1386 treasurer Therlen Benally.  The union is based in Phoenix.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Top Ten logoAs in 2014, union leaders last year directed much of their energies toward maximizing political and legal advantage.  And they scored tangible victories.  President Barack Obama, now in his last year in office, is without question the best White House friend of organized labor in decades.  Among other things, unions won major cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with its built-in 3-2 Democratic Party majority.  And the Teamsters achieved its long-sought goal of release from federal control established following a 1989 civil racketeering settlement.  Yet organized labor also experienced its share of setbacks, especially in the courts.  And they received lots of unwanted exposure for embezzlement and fraud.  As far as rank and file members are concerned, the most pressing problem is the growing possibility that their pension plans will be depleted.     

Oklahoma LIUNA Local Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

LIUNA logoOn November 20, Michael Low, former secretary-treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 2097, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to 18 days of incarceration, three years of probation and 104 hours of community service for making false statements in union financial records in connection with his embezzlement of $12,937 in funds from the Oklahoma City-based union.  Low, who already had paid restitution, also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.  He had pleaded guilty back on March 26 after being charged that day.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Syndicate content