Racketeering Conviction Upheld

The U.S. 3rd Cir. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the racketeering and bribery conviction Nov. 5 of Louis Parise, Jr., the son of ousted Nat. Maritime Union boss, Louis Parise, Sr.  Parise, Jr., faces a 30-month federal prison sentence after being found guilty of delivering cash to union bosses so that they would refer injured seafarers to a lawyer working with the family. Parise, Sr., is serving a 56-month sentence in a federal prison role in the scheme and for embezzling union funds. Parise, Jr.’s, brother, Robert, is due for sentencing in Feb. after he pled guilty to embezzlement last year. He was accused of running a fake NMU local in Miami that diverted tens of thousands of dollars in union funds. In the bribery scheme, Parise, Sr., paid union port agents to refer injured seafarers to Bernard Sacks, a Philadelphia attorney, who gave 5% of the resulting fees … Read More ➡

New York City Bosses’ Lavish Stipends

As a broad investigation begins into allegations of rampant corruption in Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y.C. (See UCU 1.11), dissidents say the union’s troubles stem largely from DC 37’s awkward governing structure. The structure discourages executive board members from questioning how the union is run and encourages skimpy financial oversight, little questioning and a lot of looking the other way. Critics say Stanley Hill, DC 37’s executive director, handpicked the 24-member board. Board members have a strong financial incentive to go along with Hill. They receive stipends averaging $31,530 a year on top of their union salaries: $30,000-$150,000. They get $18,000 for sitting on the board and $12,000 for heading a committee. Critics say these bosses do little extra work in return for the stipends. Each month, they attend a lavishly catered meeting with London broil or poached salmon. [… Read More ➡

Ex-Boss Faces Theft Charges

Ex-treasurer of the Lower Saucon Township Policemen Ass’n, Paul Kemp, was fired in Mar. and now faces court action on 7 counts of theft according to the Northampton County, Pa., Dist. Attorney’s office. Court records show he withdrew $400 cash from the union and wrote checks for $28.05, $116, $5.79, $28.61, $91.80 and $144.16 in 1995-97. Prosecutors said he “used the money and checks for his personal use rather than the association’s business.” [Morning Call 11/3/98]

After Probe & Suicide, Kentucky Boss Fired
Morgan Bayless was fired Nov. 2 as political director of the Ky. AFL-CIO. Bayless and other bosses of the state AFL-CIO were suspended in Sep. when the AFL-CIO began investigating alleged financial irregularities (See UCU 1.9). Jo Pressler, overseer of the AFL-CIO probe, declined to say why Bayless was fired and defrayed questions to Paul Raymond, bargaining agent for Laborers (LIUNA) Local 189 in Louisville, which … Read More ➡

$729K Returned to Teamsters Pension Fund

Teamsters Local 710’s pension fund in Chicago was repaid $729,400 for questionable fees credited to a brokerage firm. Announced Oct. 23, the money was returned voluntarily by Fleet Financial Group, which said an audit of a bank acquired by Fleet in 1996 indicated that fees paid to East West Capital Corp., in Harper Woods, Mich., may have been improper. There is a federal investigation into what happened with the funds and what ties existed between East West, Teamsters bosses and alleged associates of organized crime. Fleet said it returned the money to after determining that East West may not have performed research for which it had been paid. Allegedly, Christopher Roach, an East West principal, has dealings with elements of a Detroit crime family. [A.P. 10/23/98]

Labor Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Scam
Former Police Benevolent Ass’n lawyer, Richard Hartman, pled guilty Oct. 27 to dodging over $300,000 in taxes.  … Read More ➡

New York Boss Missing, Believed Dead

Ralph Coppola, a former United Brotherhood of Carpenters boss in N.Y., pled guilty in Sep. to a $1.2 million fraud and was set to receive a 24 to 30-month sentence in Nov. But, Coppola, an alleged Genovese crime family associate, has been missing for a month and is now believed to have been executed for pocketing money that should have been passed on to his Mafia superiors, according to  sources of the Daily News. If true, Coppola would be the first N.Y. boss to be killed since Oct. 1993, when a bloody intrafamily war left 10 dead. Those killings, and dozens more by the Gambinos and Lucheses, led to the Mafia’s ruling body to reportedly issue a no-killings directive until things cooled off. Coppola’s lawyer said it’s unlikely that he ran away because they had delayed his sentencing so he could be present for the birth of his third child, … Read More ➡

House Probe of Teamsters, Ickes Moves Ahead

The House Education and the Workforce subcommittee began looking Oct. 6 into whether former U.S. Trade Rep. Mickey Kantor pressured a Cal. firm to settle a strike with the Teamsters in order to encourage campaign contributions from the union. Kantor, a long-time Clinton advisor, told a Rep. Peter Hoekstra’s (R-Mich) committee that a telephone call he made at the request of then-White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes to Diamond Walnut Grower’s former chief executive officer, William Cuff, didn’t involve pending campaign donations. The probe is looking into allegations that Ickes served as a conduit between the administration and Teamsters. Presently, Attorney Gen. Janet Reno is considering appointing an independent counsel to investigate Ickes. A decision is expected next month.

According to a memos written by former Teamsters boss William W. Hamilton, who has been separately indicted for his role in the Teamsters money-laundering schemes of 1996, Ickes told … Read More ➡

Coia’s Attorneys Meet with DOJ, Discuss Future

Representatives of the Laborers’ Int’l Union of North Am. and the Justice Dep’t met Oct. 6 to assess the union’s future after Jan. 31, 1999 when DOJ’s oversight of LIUNA is supposed to end. Michael S. Bearse, LIUNA’s general counsel and New England labor lawyer, said this was the first in a series of meetings “to decide what happens next and understand each other.” The next meeting is Oct. 21.  Bearse said, the union would like to see “more arm’s length supervision” from DOJ.  However, others outside LIUNA’s inner circle have called for DOJ to take over LIUNA and oust the current leadership before DOJ’s authority do due so lapses. Among the many reasons for a government takeover is the fact that Gen. President Arthur A. Coia, who DOJ said in its 1994 draft RICO complaint had “associated with, and been controlled and influenced by, organized crime figures,” is still … Read More ➡

Boss Gets 5 Months for $40K Theft

Utility Workers of Am. Local 537 Secretary-Treasurer William S. George was sentenced Oct. 14 to 5 months in prison for stealing union funds. He pled guilty Jul. 30 to 6 counts of embezzlement. The plea came after the Pittsburgh union boss was indicted Apr. 22 in U.S. District Court for stealing over 40,000 of union members’ funds. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, George used several schemes, including fraudulent reimbursements for meals, postal costs and lost wages. The indictment alleged he had UWA pay for personal cellular phone and florist bills. He also used UWA’s credit card to pay for other personal expenses.  George had faced 5 years in prison and $1,500,000 in fines. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/15/98]

Boss Banned from Union Office
Union embezzler, Janet Brown, was sentenced Oct. 8 to 4 months of house arrest and was banned from union office for 13 years. The former president of … Read More ➡

One Dead, Documents Stolen & Destroyed in Kentucky Probe

An audit of the Kentucky AFL-CIO sparked by member union complaints of corruption has turned the Ky. AFL-CIO upside down: so much so that it had to cancel its state convention last week. Notice of the national AFL-CIO’s audit arrived in Frankfort on Sep. 15. That day, Donna Bayless, the Ky. AFL-CIO’s bookkeeper at the center of the corruption allegations, was reported missing. She was found dead Sep. 19, an apparent suicide. She was found in a secluded wooded area owned by her family. Police said Bayless died of a single gunshot wound in the side of her head and a pistol was found near her body.

Police are investigating an Aug. break-in at the Ky. AFL-CIO HQ in which records were stolen and a Sep. 4 fire. The fire did minimal damage but destroyed union records and is considered an arson. Bayless disappeared the same day police went to … Read More ➡

Kentucky Governor Linked to Union Indictments

Kentucky Democratic Gov. Paul Patton’s two top aides and two Teamsters bosses were indicted on charges of violating campaign finance laws in Patton’s 1995 election. The special grand jury indictments were unsealed Sep. 24 by a Ky. Supreme Court order. The named were: Skipper Martin, Patton’s chief of staff and 1995 campaign manager; Danny Ross, Patton’s labor liaison who ran a pro-Patton campaign for the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO between stints on Patton’s state payroll; Lon Fields, president of Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville, where Ross ran the campaign; and Robert Winstead, secretary-treasurer of Local 89 and recording secretary of the Teamsters’ state council, through which the national union paid for Ross’ campaign work. The four’s lawyers denied their clients broke the law.

Patton has denied wrongdoing, and in an act of defiance, he said that Martin and Ross would keep their state jobs, saying they were “vital to the … Read More ➡