These past few years have been heady times for Worth Construction.The Bethel, Conn.-based contractor has become one of the largest in the New York City area.It’s been building roads, schools, hospitals, sewage treatment plants, and government buildings, generating $186 million in revenues in 2004 alone.Unfortunately, its president, Joseph Pontoriero, has been keeping the wrong kind of company – the Genovese crime family kind.For certain regulators and law enforcement agencies, these associations have raised red flags.There have been enough of them at any rate for New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi to deny the company the eligibility to compete for a $46 million Thruway Authority contract.An ongoing investigation of the contractor may implicate certain members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.
The Northwest Indiana District Council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners has gone through a rocky past few years.They aren’t getting any smoother either.This past May Gerry Nannenga, formerly council secretary-treasurer, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for accepting bribes in connection with a scheme to purchase a 55-acre tract of land with $10 million in union pension money.The land, part of the Coffee Creek planned community project in Chesterton, Ind., actually was worth only about $5 million.
On September 21, Joseph Calcagno, formerly business manager/secretary-treasurer for Laborers Local 1162, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, to two years probation for making false entries in the local’s financial records.He also was ordered to make $66,632 in restitution to the union for improper expenses.The local is based in Brockton, south of Boston.The case was investigated by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.(OLMS, 10/1).
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 1005 has a major problem on its hands: The person who runs it is under indictment.Paul Hernandez, president of the Hobart, Ind.-based local, with more than 1,100 members, was charged in federal court in May with 21 counts of theft and wire fraud.Also indicted was Kenneth Castaldi, of Elkton, Wisc., who ran the local’s apprenticeship program.At issue was the pair’s handling of an Indiana Department of Commerce training grant.
Hiring carpenters at below union-scale wages and benefits can be profitable – for union shop stewards as well as contractors.That’s what a federally-appointed monitor of New York City’s District Council of Carpenters found after an extensive investigation into allegations of bribery at local construction sites.
Michael Forde, head of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, has led a charmed life for the past year.On April 27, 2004, a jury found Forde and a co-defendant guilty of taking a bribe from a mob-controlled contractor.However, because of a legal technicality, he continues to run the 25,000-member union.
On February 17, in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, Julie Messick, the former treasurer of Local 2001, United Bhd. of Carpenters, entered a guilty plea by plea agreement to one count of a five-count indictment. She pled guilty to embezzling union funds. Messick had previously made restitution in the amount of $9,164. She further stipulated in the plea agreement that she will make additional restitution in the amount of $2,629.85. On December 7, 2004, Messick was charged following an investigation by the Philadelphia District Office of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 3/4/05]
Frmr. Bus. Mgr. Resentenced after Failing to Abide by 1st Sentence
A former carpenters' union secretary from Lebanon is facing fines, probation and mandatory community service after pleading guilty to stealing from her local chapter.Joy Torrance has pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland to a single count of embezzlement of labor union assets, a federal offense. She has been ordered to pay back $31,640 to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
On November 11, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Joy Torrance, former office secretary of Local 1094, Carpenters, pled guilty to embezzling $31,640.02 in union funds. An indictment filed on July 28, 2004, alleged that Torrance created and cashed unauthorized checks to herself and other third parties from the union's checking, savings, and money market accounts. In addition, the indictment alleged that Torrance used the union's credit card without authorization.
On November 1, in the U.S. Dist. Court for the Southern Dist. of Illinois, Mary Jane Krausz, former office secretary of Carpenters Locals 295, 377, and 1535, pled guilty to an information filed on that same date charging her with embezzling $37,204.63 in union funds. The information follows an investigation by the St. Louis Dist. Office of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 11/17/04]