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 ➡

AFSCME Conspiracy in Massachusetts

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, minutes before his trial on Jul. 27, Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees member Abraham Aly, in-house architect of Newton, MA, pled guilty to 9 counts of bribery, 5 counts of mail fraud, 3 counts of embezzlement and 1 count of conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern stated, “Newton was bilked by Aly for construction…work at 2 high schools, 2 elementary schools and at City Hall itself. This was done so that the defendant could pocket cash kickbacks and put a new roof on his own house. The losers were the taxpayers of the City of Newton and the public trust.” Aly admitted that during 1993-95 he used his position to extract personal favors and cash from a vendor. The vendor overbilled the city about $50,000 and kicked-back about $25,000, in cash, to Aly. Payments were typically made at job sites and … Read More ➡

Money-Laundering Scandal Briefs

  • Aug. 4: U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White told the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that Congress allowed the Justice Department to spend $4 million of the $8.4 million estimated cost on the rerun election. [BNA 08/05/98]
  • Aug. 3: Teamsters presidential candidate and Carey supporter, Tom Leedham accused Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) of using his Congressional investigation into the Teamsters scandal to aid rival candidate James P. Hoffa. Hoekstra’s spokesman said it was “ridiculous.” [BNA 08/04/98]
  • Jul. 27: Ron Carey, who was elected in 1991 with a motto “no corruption, no excuses, no exceptions,” was permanently expelled from the union almost a year after revelations of his 1996 campaign’s schemes that funneled over $538,000. The court-appointed Independent Review Board also expelled disgraced Teamsters political director William W. Hamilton who has been indicted for his role in the scandal. [Wash. Times 07/28/98]
  • Jul. 24: Teamsters Vice President Aaron Belk’s
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Strike-Happy CWA in 35 States?

If the Communications Workers of America has its way, it may disconnect America in Aug. as strikes near at 3 regional telephone giants. On Aug. 3, CWA members authorized strikes at BellSouth and US West, and CWA’s board authorized a strike against Bell Atlantic. CWA President Morton Bahr smugly proclaimed, “We have serious problems, much negotiating to do and very little time to go.” Contracts expire at Bell Atlantic and BellSouth on Aug. 8 and US West on Aug. 15. If CWA doesn’t compromise: 73,000 workers at Bell Atlantic in DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA, WV & DC; 48,000 at BellSouth in AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC & TN; and 36,000 at US West in AZ, CO, ID, IA, MN, MT, NE, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WA & WY will be on strike.

Boss Doctors Union’s Books
Louis DiFiore, the … Read More ➡

Funding the WorldCom-MCI Foes?

On Jul. 15, the Justice Department approved WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI over the protests of rivals, unions and left-wing activists. The merger has one more regulatory hurdle: a “public interest review” by the Federal Communications Commission where an alliance of self-interested opponents will put up their strongest fight. In addition to the Communication Workers of America, the AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have entered the fray. And GTE, hoping to revive its own efforts to acquire MCI, has fought the merger. WorldCom & MCI are largely non-union companies. If this merger is overturned and GTE gets MCI, CWA stands to inherit a hefty amount of defenseless workers ripe for unionizing.

Evidence is growing that corporate dollars are supporting the union and left-wing activist’s PR battle. GTE’s PR firm Powell Tate, a D.C. firm which is also working with Nader on an anti-Microsoft campaign, held a Capitol … Read More ➡

Boss Gets 1 Year for Embezzlement

On Jul. 20, the U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Robert Kellas, former-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843 in Bellingham, WA, to a year and a day in prison and ordered him to pay $78,248 in restitution on top of $70,000 already paid. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release after facing a maximum of 5 years in prison. On Apr. 23, Kellas pled guilty to embezzling between $70,000 and $120,000 from Local 843 and the ATU Legislative Council of Washington State. He was president of Local 843 from 1990-97 and secretary-treasurer of the Legislative Council from 1994-97. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kellas’ scheme was simply writing checks to himself from the 2 unions. [Seattle Times 04/24/98 & 07/21/98]

Union Corruption Studies Available
The Public Service Research Council just published 2 timely studies: “Fraud Prevalent in Prevailing Wage Surveys” & “The Case Against Public Sector … Read More ➡

Disgraced NHL Boss’ Restitution to go to Defrauded Players

Announced Jul. 16, the $1 million (Canadian) in restitution paid by the founder of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, R. Alan Eagleson, will be divided among 1,400 players harmed by his embezzlement schemes. On Jan. 6, the NHL union boss pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to 3 counts of fraud and theft thereby avoiding prosecution on 32 counts which included stealing from players’ pension funds and insurance premiums, as well as cheating players out of disability money. The next day, he pled guilty in a Canadian court to 3 counts of fraud for skimming advertising money for tournaments and other hockey entities. On top of the restitution, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Canada, but was released Jul. 6 after serving only 6 months. [Boston Globe 01/06/98 & Toronto Star 07/17/98]… Read More ➡

Probe of CA Teachers Association Concludes

San Bernardino Co., CA District Attorney’s Office’s investigation into embezzlement schemes involving local teachers unions concluded on Jul. 8, when San Bernardino Co. Superior Court sentenced Nancy Hooper to 180 days of electronic surveillance. Hooper had pled guilty to 8 counts of grand theft embezzlement and 1 count of receiving stolen property. Hooper stole more than $36,000 from the Fontana Teachers Association’s checking account for her personal use. The former Fontana City Councilwoman was also ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution, which is on top of $22,000 already paid. She will also pay the $400 monthly surveillance cost.

This comes less than a month after a Rialto, CA teachers union official was sentenced to 28 months in prison for embezzling about $110,000 from the Rialto Educators Association and Citrus Belt UniServ which oversees several area teachers unions including Fontana Teachers Association. Mary Jane Bronson pleaded guilty to 2 counts of … Read More ➡