All contractors want to minimize costs.But sometimes that desire leads to lawbreaking.Such was the case for Patrick McCaul and John McGonnell, co-owners of the Bronx, N.Y. construction firm, Tri-Built Construction, Inc.On January 9, the two were arrested and indicted in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for participating in an 11-year scheme to defraud the New York City District Council of Carpenters, an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.The pair allegedly used nonunion labor in violation of an existing contract, paid union carpenters off the books, and bribed shop stewards and an office employee of the union benefit funds to assist in the fraud.The union’s shortfall during 1993-2004 came to at least $6.5 million – and that’s just the benefit funds.McCaul and McGonnell each were charged with one count of conspiracy, embezzlement and bribery.
In Northwest Indiana, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners appear to be as adept at mishandling funds as they are at handling building materials.In 2005 Gerry Nannenga, formerly president of the union’s Local 1005 and then secretary-treasurer of the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking a bribe years earlier to vote in favor of using $10 million in union pension money to buy 55 acres of choice real estate.This past September 21, a federal jury decided against two other union officials in a separate scandal.They are Paul Hernandez, Nannenga’s replacement as Local 1005 president, and Kenneth Castaldi, head of the local’s apprenticeship training program.Each was convicted on theft, mail fraud and other charges.
It is little secret that much of New York City’s drywall industry is on the take, and that a number of contractors work closely with union bosses and the Mafia to maximize revenues.But one by one, elements in that network are being removed.On October 26, John Barone, a drywall contractor, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to one count of conspiracy to evade employment taxes.Barone and several other persons named in a massive Justice Department indictment, diverted wages, cash payments and other benefits to themselves without reporting them on W-2, 1099 or other IRS reporting documents.Bearing the burden of this unofficial “mob tax” are the taxpaying public and workers paid substandard wages.Barone had copped a plea to Count 77 in a superseding indictment.
“Going out golfing and getting paid for it” was how Michael “Mickey” Annucci described the requirements of his job.He spoke prematurely.Annucci, 54, an organizer and shop steward for Local 157 of New York’s United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, had embezzled at least $10,000 from his union, according to an indictment by a Manhattan federal grand jury unsealed in mid October.The sum represents wages, pension and health benefits denied to members because of Annucci’s time-sheet underreporting.
On September 26, Lawrence Marable and Deborah Powell, respectively, the former president and treasurer of Local 1793 of the American Federation of Government Employees, were each charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with five counts of property theft, one count of making false record entries, and one count of conspiracy to steal $187,000 worth of property.The local represents employees at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia located at University and Woodland Avenues.The charges follow a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.(OLMS, 10/9/06).
D.C. Local Ex-President Sentenced for Embezzlement
If only Ralph Mabry had been a little more patient about moving into his dream home.Mabry since 1997 had served as executive secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.For most of that time he operated under a cloud of suspicion; the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, starting in 1999, had jointly probed financial irregularities surrounding the construction of Mabry’s $803,000 residence in Grosse Pointe Park.Mabry, along with Council President Anthony Michael, two years ago was indicted for conspiring to obtain a $127,800 discount from contractors under false pretenses.On September 25, standing before U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, Mabry learned his fate:a two-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine.Michael received a one-year, one-day sentence and a $3,000 fine. Both men had been convicted by jury in late February for solicitation and receipt of prohibited payments.
On August 10, Lorraine Payton, former president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, Veterans Administration Council, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on two counts of making false reports.Payton was accused of underreporting union income.According to the indictment, she reported getting $11,515 from the council in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, plus another $6,000 in calendar year 2001.Her actual incomes for the two periods, respectively, were $18,123 and $55,821, with secret payments going for checks, debit card and credit card transactions.The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.(OLMS, 8/18/06; other sources).
Given the evidence, Ava Shaw and Jennifer Boyd face an uphill climb in beating an embezzlement rap.But the former leaders of the San Gabriel Teachers Association (SGTA) think otherwise.On July 6, the pair pleaded not guilty at the Alhambra Courthouse to charges that they took a combined more than $85,000 from the union.Shaw, 50, a resident of Pasadena, taught special students at a public middle school starting in 1997.At the time of her arrest in March, she was employed at a private Los Angeles school.Investigators believe that Shaw siphoned around $83,000 during her four-year tenure as SGTA president, using union checks and credit cards to pay for personal expenses.Nearly $2,500 of those checks, say prosecutors, were pocketed by Boyd, 34, a public school special-needs teacher arrested in April.Each of the accused posted bail shortly after their arrests.(Pasadena Star-News, 7/7/06).
By law, union elections must adhere to democratic process.The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, or at least one of its major regional councils, appears not to have gotten the message.Now the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wants to send a more forceful one.On May 8, the DOL asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to void an election held last July by the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (CRC).The department asked a federal judge to order the CRC, which represents 47,000 workers in the Chicago area plus portions of Wisconsin and Iowa, to hold new nominations and elections for the following positions: president/executive secretary-treasurer; first vice president; second vice president; warden; conductor; three trustees; and three regional council representatives.DOL also wants new nominations and elections for all 42 local unions within the council.
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