Former President of NYC Steelworkers Local Pleads Guilty

steelworkers-logoFor Juan “Alex” Cedeno, the party’s over.  And the bill has come due.  On March 6, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of false-record keeping in connection with his theft or misappropriation of more than $90,000 in funds from the Queens, N.Y. union.  Cedeno had been arrested and charged last May after a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Court records show that Cedeno, a resident of Queens, during April 2009-October 2011 used a union credit card to run up $58,303 in unauthorized charges at strip clubs, clothing retailers, a local Hooters restaurant, and various casino-hotels in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and the Caribbean.  To conceal his thefts, he co-signed more than $35,000 in checks from the union general fund and transferred … Read More ➡

Jacksonville, Fla. Police Union President, VP Plead Guilty in Slot Machine Scam

Another day in Florida online gamblingIt was a scam that was the talk of Florida.  And two cops, both leaders in their police union, played no small part in making it happen.  This past January, Nelson Cuba, former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), pleaded guilty to three charges related to his transferring more than $500,000 from an illegal gambling enterprise to his own use.  Ex-FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas had pleaded guilty last April.  The convictions were part of a state probe into a gambling and money-laundering operation nominally run by a charity.  Participants netted nearly $300 million until the ring was busted two years ago.  Though not among the 57 arrested, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned, at Governor Rick Scott's request, given the fact of her public relations work several years earlier on behalf of the charity.

The State of Florida allows slot machines in Seminole tribe-owned casinos and at dog … Read More ➡

AFGE President in Alabama Indicted for Embezzlement

afge logo_0Stephanie Hicks wrote lots of checks from her union accounts. The problem is that they didn’t always go to cover union expenses.  Hicks, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2207, was arrested and charged on March 11 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of Alabama with embezzling more than $132,000 in funds from the union, which represents VA hospital employees in Birmingham. She had been indicted by a grand jury in February for bank fraud, forgery and aggravated identity theft. The charges follow a joint probe by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Hicks, 43, a resident of Birmingham, served as president of AFGE Local 2207 during July 2007-July 2013. But she likely did more than simply run her union. Prosecutors are alleging that she made a series of unauthorized transactions from the … Read More ➡

UAW Vice President, Member in Louisiana Charged with Forgery

auto_industry_reduced_4On March 4, Gregory Hill and Danny Rawls, respectively, vice president and member of Local 2297 of the United Auto Workers, each were indicted on nine counts in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana related to their aiding and abetting embezzlement in excess of $12,000, uttering forged checks, and conspiracy to commit forgery against the Shreveport-based union. The indictments follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Transportation Union Treasurer in Texas Charged with Embezzlement

utu-logoOn February 23, Henry Shuler, former treasurer of United Transportation Union (SMART Transportation Division) Local 1892, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with one count of embezzlement of funds from the Houston union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Virginia Letter Carriers President Sentenced for Theft

letter carriers logoOn March 3, Jeffrey Jones, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one year of probation for embezzling $7,649 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va. union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution.  Jones had pleaded guilty in November after being charged in October.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Fort Knox Civilian Technicians Secretary-Treasurer Indicted

Fort Knox, KentuckyOn February 26, Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the Fort Knox-based union in an amount of over $10,000. The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.… Read More ➡

Teachers Union Ex-Treasurer in Pennsylvania Charged with Theft; Waives Case

nea-logoManaging the finances of a teachers union can be lucrative, especially if it means extra, and illegal, income. Rae Dawn Grillo has discovered that thefts usually are found out. On February 18, Grillo, former treasurer of the Charleroi Area Education Association, was arrested and charged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Washington County (Pittsburgh area) Court, with three felony counts related to her embezzlement of more than $65,000 in funds from the Charleroi-based union over a five-year period. And yesterday, March 16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek an indictment following her agreement to plead guilty to local charges.

Prosecutors allege that Rae Dawn Grillo, 55, a resident of Fallowfield Township, during 2007-12 used a union checking account to make unauthorized withdrawals. The probe began in June 2012 when the NEA-affiliated Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) discovered that its Charleroi chapter owed $7,262 in back dues. The state … Read More ➡

Wisconsin Enacts Right to Work Law; Unions, Obama Strike Back

walker-signs-right-to-work-billGiven the roiling conflict in Wisconsin these past four years over the limits of public-sector unionism, it only was a matter of time before the scene would shift to the private sector. This Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed Right to Work legislation. The law, which took effect immediately, bars unions from forcing private-sector employers to fire workers who don’t pay dues. Two dozen other states have similar laws. Yet what really is getting under the skin of organized labor is the triumph of their nemesis, Gov. Walker. More than ever, he looks like a top-tier Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Union leaders are preparing accordingly. And they’re getting help from President Obama.

Readers of Union Corruption Update are familiar with all this. Back in early 2011, Scott Walker, who had just taken office, inherited a two-year budget deficit estimated at $3.6 billion. This shortfall had a number of explanations, but … Read More ➡

Detroit-Area Operating Engineers Business Agent Pleads Guilty to Concealing Extortion

IUOE logoDavid Hart was an accomplice, not a mastermind. But that didn’t make his acts any less illegal. On February 24, Hart, formerly financial secretary-business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to concealing acts of extortion by his boss. He had been charged eleven days earlier in an information count following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration. The union represents more than 18,000 operators of cranes and other heavy construction equipment across Michigan.

Federal prosecutors had alleged that Hart, 42, a resident of East China Township, Mich., during 2003-12 had been aware of, and participated in, an extortion scheme benefiting an unnamed union official indicated as “Union Official A.” This individual forced business … Read More ➡

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