Union Corruption Update

Local in NYC Pleads Guilty to Corruption; Mob Boss Sentenced

Prosecutors for the State of New York now are finding out how good it feels to get a conviction from its anti-racketeering “enterprise corruption” law.  Fittingly, one of New York City’s most corrupt labor unions, Local 8 of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, has broken the ice.  On September 19, the Genovese crime family-connected local admitted through its lawyer before the New York State Supreme Court that it was a criminal enterprise.  The guilty plea was the culmination of an indictment in July 2004 of the entire local leadership, following a five-year investigation.  In addition, a Genovese captain, John Barbato, was sentenced by the court to two to six years in prison for his role in an extortion scheme that enriched Local 8 bosses by $2 million at the expense of rank and file.

Michigan Bosses Sentenced for Accepting Illegal Discounts

If only Ralph Mabry had been a little more patient about moving into his dream home.  Mabry since 1997 had served as executive secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.  For most of that time he operated under a cloud of suspicion; the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, starting in 1999, had jointly probed financial irregularities surrounding the construction of Mabry’s $803,000 residence in Grosse Pointe Park.  Mabry, along with Council President Anthony Michael, two years ago was indicted for conspiring to obtain a $127,800 discount from contractors under false pretenses.  On September 25, standing before U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, Mabry learned his fate:  a two-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine.  Michael received a one-year, one-day sentence and a $3,000 fine.  Both men had been convicted by jury in late February for solicitation and receipt of prohibited payments.

Feds Raid Riverside, Calif. Sheriff’s Office, Continue Theft Probe

Things have gone from ugly to uglier at the Riverside Sheriff’s Association (RSA).  This past summer, federal prosecutors filed a confidential document in Riverside County, California Superior Court indicating that the FBI and the Labor Department were conducting a joint investigation into the possibility that certain members of the RSA had embezzled money from its legal trust fund.  The document inadvertently had been posted on the court Web site before being quickly removed.  The latest plot twist came on Thursday, September 28, when armed FBI agents raided the association’s offices in Riverside, looking for clues in the disappearance of more than $100,000 from the union, which represents more than 2,500 deputies and other law enforcement and public safety personnel.


Financial Secretary in Connecticut Sentenced for Embezzlement

Underlying of lot of union embezzlement these days are hard-luck gambling stories.  It’s a depressing scenario:  A union officer or employee loses his shirt at a casino(s), and tries to cover the losses by writing phony checks, diverting union funds into a secret account, or pulling off some other scheme.  Add Michael Iasevoli, an official with a Connecticut local of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, to the list.  Iasevoli, 40, a resident of Waterbury and acting financial secretary for PACE Local 745, was sentenced on September 19 in U.S. District Court in New Haven to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.  He had pleaded guilty in June to one count of embezzling assets from the Wallingford, Conn.-based union.

Philadelphia Local Heads Refuse to File Forms, Claim ‘Slavery’

Many unions have made it a habit to be late when it comes to filing mandatory annual financial reporting forms with the Department of Labor.  But none have been so brazen as to publicly refuse to file on principle – that is, until now.  The bosses of Local 700 of the Transport Workers Union, an AFL-CIO affiliate which represents parking garage attendants in Philadelphia, broke new ground a year and a half ago in announcing to the department that it would refuse to file.  After waiting the situation out, the U.S. Department of Labor, acting through the Justice Department, has filed a lawsuit demanding completed disclosure forms for the years 2002 through 2005.  While the union has not been accused of any financial wrongdoing, one has to ask:  What are these guys hiding anyway?

Detroit Ex-Local Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On August 29, Linda Holden, former financial secretary-treasurer for Local 639 of the United Steelworkers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $74,090.  The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  USWA Local 639 previously had been affiliated with the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers (PACE), where it was known as Local 6-639.  The change in affiliation is due to a merger, approved in April 2005, of the Steelworkers and PACE.  The new umbrella organization is known as the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.  (OLMS, 9/25/06).


Former Local Business Agent in Southern Minnesota Charged

Self-Oversight Ends; Union President Calls for More Organizing

For eleven years, the leadership of the Laborers International Union of North America had dodged a bullet.  As described in these pages many times, in February 1995, after the Justice Department had prepared a massive civil RICO suit against union leadership, including President Arthur A. Coia, top-level Clinton administration officials allegedly intervened on the union’s behalf.  The Department of Justice, under White House pressure, allowed the union to operate under a federally-supervised self-policing program to rid its ranks of organized crime.  Since that consent agreement, 322 persons in the union, through various means, were given the boot.  Coia, for his part, announced in December 1999 that he would step down at the beginning of the following year over unrelated state tax evasion charges involving his purchase of three Ferraris from a union vendor in Rhode Island.  Soon after, the DOJ and the union, led by new President Terence O’Sullivan, announced an extension of the original agreement, which would run until the conclusion of the union’s 2006 convention.

More Niagara Falls Local Members Sentenced

The thugs who ran LIUNA Local 91 until 2002 are out of commission.  Given the recent unexpected mid-trial guilty pleas of the final four defendants, a rogues’ gallery that included ex-President Mark Congi, the business now at hand is sentencing.  On successive days a month ago, three former members of the Niagara Falls, N.Y. union who previously pled guilty received their reward in federal court.  They are among a dozen and a half persons who either pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, all charged in an indictment that detailed a pattern of beatings, threats, vandalism and a firebombing against contractors and workers during the period 1995-2002.

Ex-Manager, Two Family Members Plead Guilty to Royalty Scam

It’s a good thing Marsha Aiken is no apparent relation to successful pop singer Clay Aiken.  If she is, she’d probably keep quiet about it.  For four years she and close relatives seemed on their way to amassing music-industry riches.  What they wound up with was unwanted fame.  Aiken had been royalty manager for the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), a Nashville, Tenn.-based union representing some 5,000 songwriters and estates.  She engineered a scheme to siphon nearly $1.25 million from the SGA through a union satellite office in Weehawken, N.J.  On September 7, the scam met its end in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Aiken, 54, a resident of Brooklyn, standing before U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit embezzlement.  Her daughter, Nicole Williams, 27, already had pleaded guilty on August 30 to conspiracy charges, and Aiken’s nephew, Anthony Ray, 33, pled guilty to tax evasion the day before.

Aging Genovese Family Boss Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

As reputed boss of the Genovese crime family, Matty “the Horse” Ianniello was in the crime business.  But now at age 86 and headed for federal prison, his main order of business will be survival, even with an abbreviated sentence.  On Thursday, September 14, the ailing mobster, his wooden cane hanging on a chair beside him, entered a plea of guilty to one count of racketeering in the court of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan.  Free on bail for now, Ianniello, a resident of Long Island, faces a prison sentence of one-and-a-half to two years, plus forfeiture of up to $1 million to the government.  Without the plea bargain, he could have gotten as many as 20 years in prison.

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