Another boss from Am. Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. was sent to prison Aug. 22. Robert Taylor is at least the fifth ex-DC37 boss to become a prison inmate in the recent corruption scandal, which has had more than thirty criminal indictments and more than twenty guilty pleas.
Taylor, ex-president of AFSCME Local 983, was to sentenced to 18 to 54 months for rigging a contract ratification vote and embezzling more than $50,000 of union funds. He agreed to the sentence in June as part of plea bargain with the Manhattan Dist. Atty.'s Office.
Local 983 is now run by reformer Mark Rosenthal, who has been a key source for prosecutors on how DC37 bosses rigged the 1996-97 City contract vote. [Newsday 8/23/00]
AFSCME's top boss, Gerald W. McEntee, gave Bill Clinton a first edition copy of the Lincoln-Douglas debates at the AFSCME convention June 30, according to the union's website. He called Clinton: "the best friend Labor has ever had." Reportedly, Clinton, a "history buff,...hugged the book to his chest in an expression of thanks." One online book reseller lists an 1860 first edition of these debates at $1,200.
According in federal court documents, McEntee was implicated in the 1996 Teamsters scandal that ousted disgraced ex-Teamsters boss Ron Carey. Allegedly, McEntee improperly routed $20,000 to Carey's reelection campaign. Also, McEntee presides over one of the most corrupt unions in America today; in Jan. 2000, the N.Y. Times exposed an internal union document revealing that AFSCME suffered $4.6 million in corruption scandals in just over one year.
A dissident group in a scandal-ridden Dist. Council 37 of the Am. Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Employees took the first step toward a more democratic union Apr. 26 by proposing a change in the way it elects its bosses. The proposal would allow the 125,000 members of the Manhattan-based DC37 to vote directly for the top leaders, instead of the current system, under which only delegates vote for the top leadership. It would also change a rule that guarantees the bosses of the largest of DC37's 56 locals automatic seats on the executive board.
DC37 has been in the grip of administrator Lee Saunders, who was appointed by AFSCME president Gerald W. McEntee. (McEntee has been linked to the scandal that brought down Teamsters boss Ron Carey), since the DC37 scandal broke in 1998. Saunders has been criticized for moving slowly on internal reforms that would give more power to the membership. In an Apr. 26 statement, Saunders said: "Some critics may need to familiarize themselves with the DC 37 constitution." He said he was taking a "neutral" stance on the proposed changes.
Al Gore spent Feb. 7 campaigning with corrupt-AFSCME boss Gerald W. McEntee in the scandal-scarred DC37 and Republican Nat'l Comm. Chairman Jim Nicholson demanded to know why. "Al Gore wore a hardhat for his meeting at AFSCME District Council 37, and it's a good thing," said Nicholson. "At DC37, you need a hardhat to dodge the falling indictments!"
"What was Al Gore doing at AFSCME DC 37 just two weeks after an internal report identified widespread corruption within AFSCME, and pointed to [DC37] as the source of more than half of the fraud in the entire union nationwide?" Nicholson asked.
"You can judge a man by the company he keeps, and in Al Gore's case, he's keeping company with AFSCME President Gerald McEntee... Just two weeks ago, McEntee [was accused] of ‘turning a blind eye' to the corruption that's infested AFSCME."
AFSCME, Gerald McEntee: $352,404, $16,800 LIUNA, Arthur A. Coia: $335,674, $86,120 ALPA, Randolph Babbitt: $314,995, $34,000 HERE, John Wilhelm: $280,793, $30,700 UFCW, Douglas H. Dority: $264,152, $58,167 AFT, Sandra Feldman: $246,563, $94,932 IUOE, Frank Hanley: $231,237, $15,600 SEIU, Andrew Stern: $215,218, $7,800 AFL-CIO, John J. Sweeney: $199,750, $7,250 IBEW, J.J. Barry: $198,533, ?? UNITE, Jay Mazur: $196,462, $54,796 NEA, Robert F. Chase: $196,427, $94,049 BSOIW, Jake West: $196,390, $184,750 UBC, Douglas J. McCarron: $194,250, $28,700 CWA, Morton Bahr: $152,762, $9,556 IAM, R.T. Buffenbarger: $142,801, $57,871 UWSA, George F. Becker: $131,499, $22,432 AFGE, Bobby L. Harnage: $122,746, $15,109 UAW, Stephen P. Yokich: $112,608, $6,900 UMW, Ronald E. Cecil: $96,224, $3,960 IBT, Ronald Carey: $0, $0
On Jan. 6, National Legal & Policy Center President Peter Flaherty criticized Al Gore for accepting the endorsement of the "one of country's most corrupt unions" and planning to appear with a central figure in the Ron Carey-Teamsters money laundering scandal.
On Jan. 5, Gore accepted the endorsement of the Laborers' Int'l Union of N. Am. He praised LIUNA and said he was honored by the endorsement. The Dep't of Justice has charged that LIUNA is controlled by organized crime. Since 1995, LIUNA has operated under a DOJ agreement. Last month, LIUNA president Arthur A. Coia resigned under pressure, and DOJ took over the Local 210 in Buffalo.
On Jan. 8, Gore appeared at an Iowa ‘post-debate party' with Richard L. Trumka, the AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer. Trumka has taken the Fifth Amendment in the Ron Carey-Teamsters money laundering scandal. Last month, a Carey aide, William W. Hamilton, was convicted of six counts of corruption. Many media sources reported that Trumka may soon be indicted for his central role in the Teamsters scandal.
An AFSCME judicial panel released its corruption findings Apr. 30 on ex-DC37 and Local 1549 boss Albert A. Diop. Here are the reported highlights: Diop had Local 1549 pay $617,398 to rent a Manhattan penthouse from 1991-99. He had the local pay between $1,200 and $1,600 a month for the penthouse's maid service. Despite living in N.Y. City, Diop charged 446 hotel stays in the city (128 on weekends) totaling $162,431. Diop had the local pay almost $135,000 over three years (about $3,750 a month) to lease a Lincoln Town Car while at the same time DC37 paid Diop a monthly auto allowance of $665 a month. His union credit card had $82,269 for cameras and electronic equipment; $23,834 for clothing; $22,829 for jewelry; and $22,251 for pawnshop purchases. Reportedly, the Manhattan Dist. Atty.'s office is conducting further investigations. [N.Y. Times & Newsday 5/1/99] Disturbingly, Diop, also an AFSCME Int'l Vice-President, apparently has not been removed from AFSCME's board.
The ongoing corruption probes into the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. has caught another union boss and three of his aides. AFSCME Local 1549 boss Albert A. Diop was suspended Mar. 3 by AFSCME after an audit found over $2 million in undocumented expenditures. Diop was a top lieutenant of recently retired and disgraced DC37 boss Stanley Hill. Diop was "widely seen as the power behind the throne at the mighty" DC37. Diop's 1998 salary was $191,000, and he had access to a penthouse at DC37's compound in lower Manhattan. Insiders said Diop used union funds for trips to Denmark, Japan and Switzerland. Diop's post as an AFSCME Int'l Vice-President is pending.
Top AFL-CIO and AFSCME bosses have recently threatened several Wall Street firms with pulling union pension funds from anyone who dares to suggest individuals, rather than the federal taxpayer, be allowed to invest their Social Security dollars. The union threat letters went to nine firms that manage billions in pension assets for union members: Fidelity Investments, J.P.Morgan, State Street Global Advisors, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Am. Express, Chase Manhattan, CitiGroup and Bankers Trust N.Y. [Washington Times 2/19/99]
AFSCME issued Feb. 8 the first public accounting of New York's scandal-ridden Dist. Council 37. It confirmed dissidents' belief that DC37 was involved in a members dues scam enabling its bosses to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses. Between 1995-98, ten bosses spent $450,000 on DC37 credit cards, but only three officials submitted any documentation. In DC37's 1998 budget, bosses deliberately underestimated the number of dues-paying members by 8,000 to 9,000, which resulted in income of $2 million.
The report also detailed a scheme in which some of DC37's locals made expenditures that would be paid for by DC37, but DC37 would then hold back dues money as payment for the spending. It allowed locals to engage in spending that did not show up on the local books. One example was $600,000 that Local 372 ex-president Charles Hughes took for "fraudulent overtime he claimed to have worked during the years 1993 through 1997." [Newsday 2/9/99]