A Fourth, Blitz, Pleads Guilty in Teamsters Scandal

Charles Blitz, a CA businessman and liberal campaign fundraiser, pled guilty Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court to lying to a court-appointed election monitor about the money-laundering schemes that ruined Teamsters President Ron Carey. Blitz is the 4th person to plead guilty. Blitz faces 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 2. No one involved in the scandals has been sentenced to date. [Detroit News & Newsday 8/18/98]

According to court records, the scheme, that Blitz was a part, illegally raised $110,000 and $75,000 for “Teamsters for a Corruption Free Union” from the liberal Citizen Action and Project Vote, respectively. In return, the Teamsters “donated” $475,000 to Citizen Action and $175,000 to Project Vote. An additional $85,000 to the National Council of Senior Citizens garnered $42,500 for Carey. The total, $227,500, covered Carey’s direct mail expenses.… Read More ➡

Acting-President Sever Reprimanded

Election Officer Michael G. Cherkasky found Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer and acting-President Tom Sever committed “very serious” violations of union rules by retaliating against union officials opposed to Sever’s continuation in office. Sever stripped duties from presidential candidate Tom Leedham and two others. Cherkasky ordered Sever and an aide to halt retaliatory actions, but he stopped short of barring Sever from reelection. [Detroit News 8/18/98]

Ex-Teamsters Boss to Pay $136K for Clean-Up
Robert Sasso, former President of Teamsters Local 282 in Lake Success, NY, was ordered Jul. 31 by a U.S. District Judge to pay $136,000 for the local’s court-appointed monitors. He is paying 15% of the monitor’s estimated $906,000 cost. Sasso pled guilty in 1994 to a criminal RICO conspiracy charge. He told prosecutors how the local shared its illegal gains with the Gambino crime family. While defendants in past cases have agreed to pay for monitoring costs, Sasso is … Read More ➡

NY Boss Resigns Over Ethics Violations

Laborers Int’l. Union of North America’s NY political action committee chairman Samuel Fresina resigned Aug. 6 after W. Neil Eggleston, LIUNA’s in-house appeals officer (and personal attorney for Bill Clinton and Labor Secretary Alexis Herman), upheld findings against Fresina for “ethical violations.” Fresina, not directly accused of mob ties, had his PAC give money to Genovese crime family associate Salvatore Lanza. The case revived allegations of Fresina’s ties to the Todaro crime family. The disciplinary action, brought by LIUNA’s in-house prosecutor Robert D. Luskin, bans Fresina from union office for 5 years and orders him to repay the PAC $50,000. But, recent questions about Luskin’s qualifications, motives and possible conflicts-of-interest raise concerns about his objectivity in this case. Fresina also resigned Aug. 13 as business manager of Albany’s Local 190. Apparently, no criminal or civil legal action has been taken against him. [Albany Times-Union 8/7/98 & 8/14/98]

Jailed Boss Read More ➡

Hollywood Boss Indicted

Hollywood’s Int’l. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 45 allegedly had over $63,000 embezzled from it by business manager James E. Jackson. He was indicted Aug. 14 on 46 counts in U.S. District Court. According to court records, Jackson used IBEW’s credit card for unauthorized non-union purposes such as Caribbean cruise tickets, airline and hotel expenditures for family and friends, jewelry and a $3,200 fur coat. IBEW also paid his unauthorized auto allowances, expenses and insurance and paid 4 years of his adult daughter’s health insurance. [City News Service 8/14/98]

Boss Pleads Guilty to $40K Theft
Utility Workers of America Local 537 Secretary-Treasurer William S. George 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 … Read More ➡

Boss Indicted for Embezzling $25K

The now-former business manager/secretary-treasurer of the Int’l. Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 92 in Bloomington, CA, was indicted Aug. 12 by a federal grand jury for embezzling $25,000 from the union. Labor Department investigators estimate the total embezzlement closer to $52,000. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Manuel Lujan allegedly charged personal expenses, including airfare and hotels, on the union’s credit cards and made unauthorized withdrawals from its bank account. [City News Service 8/12/98]

Boss Embezzled from UMW
Joseph Volansky was sentenced Aug. 6 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to 3 years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for embezzling from the United Mine Workers. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the UMW District 4 Secretary-Treasurer took an undisclosed amount by falsifying financial records and illegally using union credit cards. He was barred from union office for 13 years. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 8/7/98]

QUOTABLE QUOTE
“Of all … Read More ➡

KY Election Scandal Update

Teamsters Local 89 and the Kentucky Democratic Party are now seeking to block all indictments by the grand jury investigating the Teamsters’ connection to the 1995 election of Gov. Paul Patton (D). Consideration of indictments began Aug. 17. The action is the latest in the investigation and legal battle into whether Patton’s campaign circumvented spending caps with the help of the Teamsters and AFL-CIO. Also, the campaign work of Patton labor aide, Danny Ross, for the Teamsters between stints on the state payroll, is being probed. [Louisville Courier-Journal 08/19/98]

Nevada Workers Educate Public About Union Bosses
The last 3 years of annual reports of Nevada’s Culinary union are now available to the public thanks to the Nevada Employees for the Right to Work. “Our mission is to educate people,” said NERTW President Bruce Esgar. “The Culinary, for example, is always ready to point out how businesses make money at … Read More ➡

UFCW’s Undemocratic Convention

While the Talarico scandal exploded, UFCW held its int’l. convention in Chicago. UFCW dissidents, using the disgraced former Secretary-Treasurer Talarico as a rallying point, were barred from the convention. At a Jul. 30 press conference, UFCW President Douglas H. Dority was asked about why dissident leader Louis Anderson was barred; Dority responded, “He has no right at this convention. When he writes stuff that undermines our organizing campaign, he has no right to be at this convention.”

According to dissidents, two-thirds of the nearly 2,000 delegates and alternates at the convention are either local union bosses or paid staff who will not oppose the bosses to whom they owe their jobs. Thus, incumbent officers were reelected Jul. 28, including Dority, Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Hansen and 49 vice presidents. All were unopposed and elected by acclamation. A potential challenge to Dority from Canton, OH Local 17A President Gary Feiock was smashed when … Read More ➡

Memphis AFSCME at War With Itself Over Counter Corruption Charges

Memphis’ American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 1733 bosses are locked in a bitter dispute over Executive Director Dorothy Crook. At Jul. 31 press conference, the Local Vice-President Johnny Dansberry said, “Members of the executive board…had received numerous complaints from members about [Crook’s] competency and ability to function as executive director… Questions were also raised about financial irregularities appearing in the books of the Local 1733.” The executive board voted in May to fire Crook.

Crook filed a grievance against the board contending she has been denied due process. Jeff A. Crow, Jr., hired by AFSCME to litigate the Crook case, said a grievance hearing likely will be scheduled this month. A court case pending in Shelby County Chancery Court is on hold pending the outcome of the union’s grievance procedure. Alfred Dowdy, a board member supporting Crook, filed the lawsuit last month against Local 1733 President … Read More ➡

UFCW Strike Puts Meatpacker Out of Business

Broken by a 2-week UFCW Local 271 strike, meatpacker BeefAmerica said Jul. 28 that it is going out of business. It will close its only plant putting 1,300 UFCW members and managers in Norfolk, NE, out of work. “The strike [was] something the company did not expect or anticipate and [was] very costly,” said a company spokesman. The company lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” each week of the strike. [Des Moines Register 07/29/98]

Union Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
Janet Brown, the now-former president of American Flint Glass Workers Union Local 599 in Beaver Falls, PA, pled guilty Jul. 29 to embezzling more than $3,000 from union coffers. U.S. Attorney’s Office said the union boss took members’ money by writing checks to herself and falsifying union records. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 07/30/98]

Organized Crime Boss Convicted of Racketeering
A federal jury in Trenton, NJ, Jul. 27 found reputed organized … Read More ➡

Convoluted Corruption War Rages in Texas

A convoluted corruption case revolving around American Federation of Government Employees offical Joe Palazzolo may have entered its final stage on Jul. 27 at a Federal Labor Relations Authority hearing in Forth Worth, TX to determine if Palazzolo is eligible to continue holding his 2 union jobs, which he holds simultaneously, representing General Services Administration employees in an 11-state region. The probe has the attention of federal investigators in Dallas, Denver and Washington, as well as top AFGE union bosses. A decision is expected in Sept.

The case which has seen Palazzolo removed from and subsequently returned to office earlier this year began in Mar. 1997. A union mailbox has been seized; a union office has been locked-out; and several counter lawsuits have been filed — 2 by Palazzolo. Palazzolo has been forced into an extended leave from his GSA job and has been threatened with disciplinary action from GSA … Read More ➡