Usually out-of-towners are the ones who get burned at the casinos in Las Vegas. Cheryl Staley showed that locals also can lose - and at great cost to an employer. Staley, formerly bookkeeper for Local 501 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, to five years probation for embezzling $231,653.89 in funds from the local, which is based in Los Angeles but has a Las Vegas office where she worked. She had pleaded guilty in May. The plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Kenneth Campbell had a comfortable arrangement:accepting bribes from building contractors to buy labor “peace” and using his union’s American Express card to charge a wide range of high-end merchandise for his personal use. The former business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 knows more than ever the fun wasn’t worth it.On January 27, Campbell, standing before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler, received a 46-month prison sentence plus a restitution order of nearly $250,000 and a fine of $40,000 for engaging in a pattern of corruption at the 7,000-member northern New Jersey construction local.He had pleaded guilty in October to three counts of conspiracy to receive unlawful labor payments and five counts of embezzlement.
For more than a year, the scandals at Northern New Jersey’s International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 have piled up, claiming convictions along the way.Add the name Kenneth P. Campbell to the list.On Tuesday, October 7, Campbell, formerly the local’s business manager, pleaded guilty to five counts of embezzlement and three counts of conspiracy to receive unlawful payments.It was part of a broader bribery and expenditure scandal uncovered by federal investigators.“Campbell and his cronies were simply greedy and corrupt,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie.“They treated Local 825 like a personal piggy bank to raid at will to treat themselves to luxuries at the expense of the dues-paying members they ripped off.”
The bribery scandal at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 seems to be producing dominoes by the month.On or before March 26, four more persons associated with the Springfield, N.J.-based construction union pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting bribes from various contractors in return for permitting the contractors to avoid hiring and paying union labor.The lead person in this group is Craig Wask, a former local business agent.Wask, 60, a resident of Montvale, N.J., pleaded guilty to seven superseding counts before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler.He’d been charged last July with, among other things, hiring the daughter of a union member for a no-show job at the construction site of the Goldman, Sachs tower (“30 Hudson”) in Jersey City.Also pleading guilty were Francis Impeciati, Michael Giangrande and Manuel Pinto.
Local 825 of the International Union of Operating Engineers has been a prime target of federal prosecutors as of late.Last spring, more than two dozen officials, members and associates of the Springfield, N.J.-based union were arrested for a wide range of criminal acts.Two more persons now can be added to the dragnet, Kenneth Campbell and Peter Strannemar, respectively, the union’s current business manager and former president.On Tuesday, March 11, special agents with the FBI, IRS and Department of Labor unsealed a four-count indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Esther Salas charging the pair with receiving bribes in connection with two major construction projects in Jersey City.The case, indirectly, is mob-connected.
One doesn’t usually associate the cause of worker freedom with organizations headed by Ralph Nader.But then, unions have a long track record of avoiding transparency.And promoting transparency is Nader’s specialty.On March 29, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, Public Citizen, filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of dissenting members of the International Union of Operating Engineers.The complaint alleges that the union, through a new rule, is infringing upon its members’ right to communicate with each other via the Web.The hidden purpose, argues Public Citizen, is to suppress debate over union elections.
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 68 is a Giblin family affair.Federal law enforcement officials think this affair has been going on for too long.In an exclusive interview with Brian Thompson of New York City’s WNBC-TV, Tom Giblin, the union’s business manager, admitted that agents from the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General had executed a search warrant of the West Caldwell, N.J. union’s offices.Moreover, the agents had served subpoenas on several employees who manage the union’s trust funds.
On April 14, Deann Schnepple, ex-bookkeeper for LIUNA District Council of Oregon, Southern Idaho and Wyoming, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to an information count charging her with embezzling $44,758 in district funds.Sentencing has been set for June.(OLMS, 5/16/06).
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (AFGE)
Pittsburgh Local Ex-President, Secretary Charged with Theft
More than once they’ve been called “the odd couple” of New York City politics.But an investigative report published in the October 25 edition of the Village Voice by Tom Robbins suggests the tight alliance between New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, politically both Republicans but culturally worlds apart, goes well beyond typical City Hall back-scratching.In fact, the author alleges, it has the blessing of a supporting cast of shady businessmen and local unions.And this partnership has allowed certain elements of the Gambino and other crime families to operate with a freer hand than otherwise.
The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) back in the late 90s thought it was getting a steal of a deal on the construction of its new headquarters at 2 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.And in an unintended way, it was.An unholy alliance between a major developer, the Gambino crime family, a host of contractors, and at least three unions led to thefts in excess of $10 million, and contributed toward a total project cost overrun of more than $300 million.A 43-count federal indictment unveiled last September alleged that Gambino influence led to fraud, extortion and kickbacks in at least 10 separate contracts.This August 2 one of the syndicate’s key players, Mario Garafola, learned he would have to do some prison time.But his wrongdoing has to be seen in the context of a far broader conspiracy uncovered by the FBI and the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).