Suspended Ohio Boss Files Corruption Suit

Suspended secretary-treasurer of the Int’l Union of Electronic Workers, Ron Gilvin of Ohio, filed a federal suit Mar. 1 in Washington, D.C., claiming that high-ranking IUE bosses abused their power and misused union funds. The suit names IUE, president Edward L. Fire and 22 other IUE bosses as defendants. Among Gilvin’s allegations:

1) IUE president Edward L. Fire increased payments to IUE Dist. Councils run by his political allies by 300-400%. Gilvin, as IUE’s chief financial officer, says he was denied access to financial records to conduct district audits and his office raided by IUE officials.

2) IUE’s Executive Board planned to suppress dissent within IUE “arising from the Fire administration’s improper spending practices.”

3) IUE sent about $163,000 in payments to the AFL-CIO and told Gilvin the funds were for politics. Gilvin claims the funds were somehow routed to the Teamster money-laundering scandal that brought down Ron Carey. 

Gilvin … Read More ➡

Corruption Charges may Cost Michigan Casino Mogul’s License

Allegations of union corruption surrounding Michigan casino mogul, Anthony Soave, have jeopardized his latest $200 million venture — MGM Grand’s Detroit casino slated to open in 1999. Michigan law requires major investors to pass background checks and to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Soave’s trouble is he was indicted and arrested in a 1971 federal gambling conspiracy case, and law enforcement entities in Michigan and New Jersey claim he has had contacts with organized crime figures. Soave’s case was dismissed because prosecutors failed to get the proper signatures for a wiretap.

In addition to the gambling case, in which Soave was indicted with 20 others — many convicted bookies and known gamblers, Michigan investigators will reportedly scrutinize Soave and his dealings with New Jersey trash businessmen who turned out to be convicted felons or mob associates. Soave sold his trash-hauling company, City Management Corp., in 1998 for … Read More ➡

LIUNA Boss Coia Gets Slap on the Wrist

Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am. boss Arthur A. Coia was cleared Mar. 8 by his union’s “judge” on 15 of 16 corruption counts including associating with organized crime. The “in-house judge,” Peter F. Vaira, upheld only one charge of a conflict of interest resulting from Coia’s 1991 purchase of a Ferrari F40 for $450,000 with Viking Oldsmobile in Providence, R.I. Coia was only fined $100,000.

The Dep’t of Justice’s 1994 draft RICO complaint describes what was at stake: “LIUNA…officers…at all levels…have been chosen, subject to the approval of, and have been controlled by, various members and associates of organized crime. Four consecutive General Presidents of LIUNA, [including] Arthur Armand Coia…have associated with, and been controlled and influenced by, organized crime figures. Consequently, the rights of the members of the union to control the affairs of the union have been systematically abused. [Members] have been intimidated into silence by violence, … Read More ➡

Reformers to Challenge Coia’s Stranglehold in 2001

A new effort to oust LIUNA boss Arthur A. Coia has begun within LIUNA called Laborers for Justice. James McGough of Chicago said LFJ’s mission is to sweep organized crime from LIUNA by getting “honest rank-and-file laborers” elected at the 2001 convention. McGough said, “We will oppose each member of the entire General Executive Board that allied with Arthur Coia in 1996… These people should have had the moral courage not to run with Arthur Coia.” LFJ announced its formation to coincide with the outrageous Coia ruling. [BNA 3/8/99]

New England Laborers Hire Corrupt Ex-Mayor
Recently retired Cranston, R.I., mayor, Michael A. Traficante (R) and his sidekick Peter Alviti took positions in early Mar. with LIUNA’s New England office. LIUNA, one of America’s most corrupt unions, created the new government liaison post just for Traficante. Traficante’s 14 years in office were marred by corruption. Two of his administrators have been … Read More ➡

Another DC37 Boss Ousted, $2 Million Unaccounted

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.

The audit uncovered that Local 1549 had paid out $1.2 million directly to Diop and three other top bosses in the last four years. There was no documentation to justify … Read More ➡

Member Sues Massachusetts Boss for Harassment

Ruth A. Niemeyer has filed suit in U.S. Dist. Court in Mass. against Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am., Mass. Laborers Council, LIUNA Local 243 and boss James M. Porter, alleging sexual favors were demanded in exchange for job placements. Niemeyer is seeking $2.5 million. The 36-count, 84-page suit, filed Feb. 1, is based on claims Niemeyer made to the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. MCAD issued a probable cause ruling in Aug. on behalf of Niemeyer and an another member, Pamela J. Corey. “A probable cause ruling means there is merit to what they were claiming in the case,” said a MCAD official. Corey is considering a similar suit. Niemeyer’s suit says that between 1985-97 she was subjected to a continuing pattern and practice of gender discrimination, harassment and sexually abusive behavior. [Telegram & Gazette 2/24/99]

Ohio LIUNA Member Wins Dues Case
The Nat. Labor Relations Board ruled Feb. 23 … Read More ➡

Ex-Inmate Sues New York Boss for $100 Million

A mentally retarded ex-inmate of the Nassau County (N.Y.) Jail is suing the top boss of the jail’s correctional officers’ union, Salvatore Gemelli, and the county for $100 million for violating his civil rights. According to the ex-inmate’s Feb. 23 testimony in U.S. Dist. Court in Brooklyn, the union boss assaulted him twice shortly after he arrived in the jail — one time with a pot and pan. The inmate was in jail on a child sexual abuse charge and later pled guilty to a misdemeanor. This trial came amid a federal investigation into the jail and its union. Gemelli denied the allegations at his Feb. 24 testimony. [N.Y. Times 2/24-25/99]… Read More ➡

New York Times Declares New York the “Union Corruption Capital”

On Feb. 15, the New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse declared N.Y. City to be “the national capital of union excess and corruption” and “the mother lode of union corruption.” Here are some excerpts:

“Other cities are well known for union corruption, of course, among them Chicago, Boston, Providence, R.I., and several New Jersey locales. But labor investigators and experts say no other city today comes close to New York in the number of officials under investigation or the dozens of union locals under trusteeship. …Labor corruption is so widespread in New York that union locals representing 300,000 workers — nearly one-fourth of the city’s unionized work force — have been in trusteeship at some point over the last two years.”

The U.S. Dep’t of Labor and FBI “have placed more racketeering investigators in New York than in any other city. Although other cities may have extensive corruption in two or … Read More ➡

Ohio Local “Illegally” Fined Worker $32,500

Nat. Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board stating that local Painters union bosses levied illegal fines of $32,500 against a worker who exercised his right to refrain from formal union membership. Officials of Painters & Allied Trades Local 1275 in Columbus levied the fines after construction worker James Ott sent two resignation letters to union officials in an attempt to resign his union membership. Local 1275 officials ignored his legal right to resign and instead held an internal union “court” and levied the fines after Ott joined another union.

“Once again, union chieftains prove that their main concern is preserving at all costs the unchecked power they wield over workers,” said NRTW’s Stefan Gleason. “There can be no doubt that this attempt to extort a worker for more money than many people make in a year will send … Read More ➡

New York Reformers Booted by Boss Newman

Reforms of the mob-ridden N.Y. Dist. Council of Carpenters, launched in Jun. 1996 by the United Bhd. of Carpenters, may have been derailed. The reforms began with UBC president Douglas McCarron ousting the council’s corrupt boss, Frederick Devine, who was convicted in Aug. 1998 on embezzlement charges. Other corrupt bosses were replaced with rank-and-filers as business agents. But recently, three reformers have been fired reportedly because they did their jobs too well. “I was told I wasn’t a team player,” said reformer Mike Bilello who was fired after he removed several shop stewards for illegal work.

William Keating was told the same in Jan. by UBC supervisor Roger Newman. “He told me, ‘You’re just not on the team.’ I said, ‘I visit twice as many [construction] jobs as anyone else.’ He says, ‘There you go again, you act like you’re a superstar.'” Keating says he saw “lots of dirty deals” … Read More ➡