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.