Given what he took, it could have been a lot worse for Michael Bennett. Last Friday, June 16, Bennett, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2317, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to 15 months in prison and a year of supervised probation for stealing more than $100,000 from the Lafayette-based union. He had been indicted last August on three counts of embezzlement and three counts of wire fraud, and pleaded guilty in December. The union represents over 700 employees at the Oerlikon Fairfield plant in Lafayette, a maker of engineered gear and drive products. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to court documents, Bennett, who headed the union during 2006-15, diverted more than $100,000 in funds from the union over a five-year period. He made out 170 checks to himself, forging the signature … Read More ➡
For several years, Alaska was a favorite location for movie and TV productions. A stagehand union official used the opportunity to produce some illegal revenue for herself. On June 9, Ann Reddig, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 918, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska with embezzlement and forgery in connection her theft of roughly $193,000 over a more than four-year period from the Anchorage union. Local business agent Eric Lizer noted afterward: “That dollar amount is like five, six years of our entire income.” A court hearing is scheduled for June 26. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
With an abundance of spectacular natural scenery, Alaska provides a multitude of opportunities for on-location movie and television shoots. Back in 2008, lawmakers were enthusiastic enough about such possibilities to establish a tax … Read More ➡
There are few things quite as expensive in this world as “free health care.” And the nation’s most populous state may be about to find out the hard way. On June 1, the California Senate voted 23-14 in favor of a bill, the Healthy California Act (SB 562), to authorize the state to act as a “single payer” in place of insurance carriers in negotiating prices with doctors, clinics, hospitals and other service providers. The measure covers all residents regardless of financial ability or immigration status. Annual costs may reach $400 billion – and that’s just for starters. As existing Medicare and Medicare funds will pay for around half that, new business taxes are the most likely candidate to cover the rest. It’s fitting that this prescription for economic disaster and population replacement is being driven by a union, the California Nurses Association.
National Legal and Policy Center has … Read More ➡
On May 25, John Matassa Jr., secretary-treasurer of Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711 in Mount Prospect, Ill., was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on two counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft of Old Age Insurance benefits in the amount of $3,291, four counts of embezzling union funds in the amount of $2,959, and two counts of making false entries in financial records. The charges follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
On May 31, Clementine Ray, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2109, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to a superseding information count of making false entries in financial records of the Temple-based union. She had been charged with wire fraud in an unspecified sum in February following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 12, David Diaz, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 387, was sentenced in Suffolk County (Long Island), N.Y., 10th Judicial Circuit Court, to 280 hours of community service in lieu of 60 days in jail and three years of probation. He also was ordered to pay $17,149 in restitution. Diaz had pleaded guilty in March to petty larceny. The actions follow a joint investigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
On May 9, Stephanie DeBoer, former office manager and bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on one count of embezzling about $307,000 from the Edmore (Montcalm County), Mich.-based union. The local represents utility company workers throughout Michigan. She was released last month on a $100,000 unsecured bond after her initial court appearance. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
There’s nothing like an early morning roundup to serve as a reminder that Mafia control over labor unions isn’t quite history yet. And lately many people in the New York City area are breathing a bit more freely. On May 31, FBI agents and NYPD cops arrested 19 members and associates of the Lucchese crime family on federal charges for crimes including wire fraud, racketeering, drug trafficking and murder committed over a 17-year period. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, 15 of the defendants were taken into custody and the four others already were in custody on other charges. Two arrestees, underboss Steven Crea (in left photo) Sr. and consigliere Joseph DiNapoli, had been involved with construction union extortion and bid-rigging conspiracies.
The Lucchese (also spelled Luchese) crime syndicate is one of the five New York City-based “families” of La Cosa Nostra (i.e., the Mafia) that for decades … Read More ➡
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 282 isn’t the Mafia branch it was around 30 years ago. But it still offers opportunities for illicit gain. Prosecutors have taken notice. On March 15, Nicholas Farnsworth, front man for several New York City-area trucking companies, was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to three years of probation and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution for his part in a scheme to defraud local members of about $5 million in benefits. Another participant, Toni Thomson, had received a similar sentence on January 23. Farnsworth’s father owned a unionized firm called Greenwood 2; the other firms were nonunion. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General and the New York City Business Integrity Commission.
Union Corruption Update described the details of this case five years ago. It was a classic ‘double-breasting’ … Read More ➡
“Micro-unionism” has been a fact of life of organized labor for nearly six years. Two Capitol Hill lawmakers, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. (in photo), and Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., believe that’s long enough. Last Thursday, the pair unveiled a bill, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S. 1217, H.R. 2629), that would end the practice of organizing individual sections of workers (rather than all workers) at a given employer or job site to ensure a favorable representation vote. The measure would restore the definition of a bargaining unit that had been overturned by the National Labor Relations Board in 2011. Unions are using the ruling to great advantage. Sen. Isakson, who has sponsored similar legislation in the past, asserts the measure will ensure a “fair and equitable application of labor laws in the United States.”
Union Corruption Update last covered this issue in January. The point of reference was … Read More ➡