N.Y. State Justice William Leibovitz ruled Dec. 21 that ex-Am. Fed'n of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 boss Albert A. Diop was not mentally fit to stand trial on charges of embezzling more than $1 million from the union's Local 1549. Leibovitz said that Diop was "an incapacitated person" and that he be committed to a state mental hospital. Leibovitz issued his ruling after hearing the reports of two court-appointed psychiatrists. Diop was to go on trial for allegedly stealing money from his local for lavish vacations and personal items.
AFSCME forced Diop to resign for alleged financial misconduct after an audit found $2 million in improper expenditures by Diop, Local 1549 officials James Edey, Lionel Scott and Mary Wilson. The four made more than $1 million in "unexplained payments" and from 1994-98 made almost $1 million credit card purchases for alleged personal expenses. Reportedly, Diop lived in a secret penthouse apartment above union headquarters paid for by the union. He was one of the best paid union bosses in the city, earning $191,000 a year from the local and another $18,000 from AFSCME.
A Manhattan union boss who racked up thousands of dollars for hotel rooms in Brooklyn pled guilty Oct. 17 to $3,000 larceny charge and agreed to a sentence of five years probation. Al Cannizzo also agreed to pay $20,000 in restitution to his union, AFSCME Dist. Council 37. Cannizzo was president of AFSCME Local 1508. A union disciplinary panel accused Cannizzo in Feb. 2000 of spending more than $100,000 improperly for hotel rooms, repairs to his personal cars, his personal telephone bills, dry-cleaning, and shoe repair. [Newsday (N.Y.), N.Y. Times 10/18/00]
Three Local 1549 Bosses Plead Guilty Three more officials of AFSCME Dist. Council 37 have pled guilty to plundering union funds for vacation cruises and other personal use. Lionel Scott, Mary Wilson and Eugene Bruno all pled guilty Oct. 11 in Manhattan to larceny charges. All were associated with Local 1549. The guilty pleas in this set of indictments leaves ex-Local 1549 president Al Diop as the only defendant.