Panel’s Findings on Corrupt Boss Diop Released

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 … Read More ➡

Morgenthau Indicts Powerful New York Boss, Five Others

Expelled AFSCME Local 372 boss and prominent N.Y.C. politico, Charles Hughes, was indicted May 5 along with five others including son Martin Hughes and son-in-law James Rose. The crusading Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau charged the six with stealing over $2.7 million from union coffers. Now nine bosses of the scandal-ridden AFSCME Dist. Council 37 have been indicted in the current corruption wave. Three others have pled guilty.

Hughes reportedly embezzled $100,000 for a trip for himself and 14 friends to Egypt, Israel, Prague, Paris and London. He allegedly charged $340,000 on the local’s credit card for personal expenses, including some at Victoria’s Secret. He reportedly paid $97,000 to friends living in his home-state of Ga. for no-show union jobs; prosecutors declined to connect the payments to Hughes’ new $400,000 home in Millin, Ga. The indictment also stated that Hughes stole $700,000 in unearned overtime pay, $590,000 in unauthorized … Read More ➡

Rhode Island Boss’ Fraud Trial Begins

A pension fraud trial of an ex-boss of the Nat. Education Ass’n/Rhode Island (who also worked for the Washington office of the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am.) began Apr. 27 in Providence. The key question of the case is whether boss Ronald L. DiOrio returned to NEA/RI as a consultant or a regular employee after a stint with ex-Gov. Edward D. DiPrete.

DiOrio was NEA/RI president from 1973-85. Then he was DiPrete’s top policy aide from 1985 -88. Then DiOrio was forced to resign because he placed the ex-wife of a reputed underboss of the Patriarca crime family on the DiPrete’s Justice Commission. He returned to NEA/RI from 1988-90 and seized on a lucrative pension law (passed in 1987 and repealed in 1988) allowing union employees to get state pension credits for union work and a state early retirement program to collect a state pension. NEA/RI boss, Donald C. … Read More ➡

New York Boss Eludes “Reform Effort”

In yet another example of the failure of LIUNA’s sham “internal reform effort,” the Daily News reported that N.Y. boss Gregg McCarthy “was savvy enough to see trouble coming two years ago when corruption investigators sent by the national union started probing his allegedly mob-tied Laborers local.”

To elude the limited reach of the “reform effort” and its ethically-challenged “in-house prosecutor” Robert D. Luskin, McCarthy swapped his $100,000-a-year job as Local 958 boss to become administrator of the local’s $14 million benefit funds. McCarty convinced the funds’ trustees to give a seven-year contract at $90,000-a-year with annual increases, a Christmas bonus and a fully-loaded 1999 Olds Aurora. When the “reform effort” finally took over the local, McCarthy had solidified his contract ensuring that he was safe. Thus, even if McCarthy was fired, as the local’s trustee is currently attempting, McCarthy’s contract protects him or entitles him to handsome damages.

McCarthy’s … Read More ➡

Chicago Bosses Face Internal Corruption Charges

LIUNA’s “internal reform effort” and its ethically-challenged “in-house prosecutor” Robert D. Luskin filed “disciplinary charges” against four Chicago bosses for allegedly associating with organized crime and allowing their locals to be controlled by criminal elements. Luskin targeted Bruno Caruso, Local 1001 boss and Chicago Laborers’ Dist. Council ex-president. The Dist. Council was placed under a trusteeship in Feb. 1998. Note that Caruso opposed Arthur A. Coia for LIUNA general president at the 1996 convention. Others charged: Caruso’s brother and ex-Local 1006 boss Frank Caruso, his cousin and Local 1006 boss Leo Caruso and Local 5 boss James DiForti. A recent report said Luskin charged the four Mar. 3 with having a “knowing association with members and associates of organized crime and for permitting organized crime to exercise control over the affairs of the union.” The report also claimed that DiForti and the Carusos played a, “significant role in a breakdown … Read More ➡

Central Illinois Bosses Charged, Motives Questioned.

The ethically-challenged Luskin also recently charged ex-bosses of LIUNA Local 703 in Urbana, Ill., including ex-business agent Edward “Gene” Johnson, his son and Jamie Johnson, who was the business agent when Local 703 was placed in trusteeship in 1998, Jim Felkner, Dennis Gleason and L.T. Robertson. The recently released Mar. 4 charges state that the five established a “sham consulting contract” that paid Edward Johnson $154,000, converted union funds to their own personal use and violated union election rules.

Local 703’s attorney for the trusteeship process, Doug Roller, questioned Luskin’s charges. Roller suggested the charges were designed to derail the desires of the membership during the upcoming officer elections. “It seems to me this is an effort to ban these people so they can’t run against the international’s slate of candidates,” [BNA 4/29/99]

Roller’s concerns about the trusteeship were echoed by ex-Local 703 employee Donna H. Keleher who has voiced … Read More ➡

Local 1597 Boss Indicted for $110,000 Theft

Union boss Lola McBryde was indicted Apr. 14 on charges of embezzling over $110,000 from Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees’ coffers. She is the third AFSCME Dist. Council 37 boss to be indicted for union corruption by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau. Three others have pled guilty. McBryde is charged with grand larceny and falsifying records and faces 19 years in prison. The AFSCME Local 1597 ex-president’s schemes included:

  1) She got $50,000 for allegedly having the local pay for large amounts of food for Labor Day picnics and parades, while only a scant number of sandwiches were supplied. She then reportedly received kickbacks and shared them with two other DC37 bosses who have already pled guilty: Joseph DeCanio and Mark Shaplo. Both are cooperating with prosecutors. The alleged scheme worked by McBride approving fake invoices from DeCanio’s nephew’s bakery.

  2) McBryde allegedly embezzled … Read More ➡

Ickes Rejoins Team Coia in New York

Ex-Clinton aide and long-time lawyer for questionable unions and their bosses, Harold Ickes has signed a contract with the Laborers’ Union of No. Am. in N.Y. to influence, lobby, etc., the Fed. Aviation Admin. on issues related to Stewart Int’l Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. LIUNA Local 17 is paying Ickes $20,000.

Just before becoming the Clinton Admin.’s deputy chief of staff, Ickes signed a $40,000 contract to represent a LIUNA fund. He admits that he didn’t do anything for LIUNA under the contract and signed it only because he was head of his law firm’s labor division. At the time, LIUNA and its president Arthur A. Coia were facing a Dep’t of Justice probe of alleged organized crime ties which could have (and should have) led to a DOJ takeover. LIUNA and Coia were, for all practical purposes, able to weasel out of DOJ’s racketeering suit in 1995, and many … Read More ➡

Family Ties Pay in New York’s Local 282

Michael Menechino, son of an admitted mob figure, collected more than $500,000 in pay during the six-year renovation of Erasmus High School in Brooklyn amid allegations from the contractor and others that he was rarely on the job. Payroll and union records show that from Jul. 1992 to Mar. 1999, Menechino was listed as the onsite steward for Teamsters Local 282.

Reportedly, veteran stewards earn as much as $100,000 a year. But Menechino never worked as a driver and owed his appointment to the Gambino crime family, according to court documents. The documents detail how his father, Peter Menechino, Sr., who was ousted from the Teamsters for mob ties, admitted to delivering shakedown payments and information between corrupt union bosses and ex-Gambino boss, Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano. The father told prosecutors how he arranged onsite steward posts for mob-approved members and reportedly his sons, Michael and Peter, Jr., were included. … Read More ➡

Racketeering Indictment Reinstated

A state racketeering indictment against the Newspaper & Mail Deliverers Union of N.Y. that was tossed out of court in 1996 has been reinstated. The indictment of NMDU resulted from a 1992 probe by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau which led to charges against 29 bosses for crimes including systematic theft, extortion and beatings. In an unprecedented legal move, Morgenthau charged the union itself with “pervasive and extreme” criminal conduct. Reportedly, NMDU top boss Douglas LaChance and others made deals with the Bonanno and Luchese crime families.

Initially, the case was dismissed by the late trial court judge, Harold Rothwax, who held that a union wasn’t a “person” under the law, and it couldn’t be charged.  But an appellate court overruled Rothwax in Dec. 1998, and in Mar. 1999, N.Y.’s highest court declined to reconsider it. Top Morgenthau prosecutor Daniel Castleman said the ruling is an important legal victory: … Read More ➡

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