The allegations of sexual harassment may or may not be true. But there’s no disputing that the top ranks of the Service Employees International Union are getting thinner. Over the last few weeks, the SEIU announced the resignation, suspension or termination of four alleged labor lotharios: Executive Vice President Scott Courtney; principal organizer Kendall Fells; Chicago organizer Caleb Jennings; and Detroit organizer Mark Raleigh. More such moves may lie ahead. “These personnel actions are the culmination of this stage of the investigation which brought to light the serious problems related to abusive behavior towards staff, predominantly female staff,” stated union spokesperson Sahar Wali in an email. In the context of similar accusations in the worlds of politics, publishing and film, the story has added significance.
On October 24, Elizabeth Merrill, former treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America Local 251, was indicted in Hamilton County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas for forgery and theft in connection with the disappearance of $1,051 in funds from the Cincinnati-based union. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Thomas Manning thought that neither his employees nor the federal government wouldn’t notice their shortfall. He turned out to be wrong. On October 16, Manning, president of a now-defunct Chicago-area concrete contracting firm, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to defrauding union benefit plans out of about $2 million in scheduled contributions and evading another $600,000 in federal payroll taxes. He had been indicted on 27 counts back in March 2015. The workers who had been denied benefits were represented by locals of the Laborers and Cement Masons unions.
Manning, now 60, was president of T. Manning Concrete Inc., based in the outer northwest Chicago suburb of Huntley, Ill. His company had been bound by various collective bargaining agreements to submit monthly reports to union-sponsored benefit plans stating the number of hours each employee worked and to make contributions reflecting these hours. According to … Read More ➡
On October 30, Carl DeRenzis, former treasurer of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1955, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to one count of embezzling funds from the Philadelphia union in the amount of $53,281. The plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On October 31, David Maddy, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 2339, pleaded guilty in Rush County, Indiana Circuit Court to embezzling $37,197 in funds from the Rushville union. He then was sentenced to 30 months in prison (suspended) and 30 months of probation, and ordered to pay residual restitution of $12,197, a $500 fine and $950 in court and probation costs. He then paid these sums. Maddy had been charged last November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On October 24, Norman Baker, former secretary-treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Local 220, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to one count of embezzling $8,310 in funds from the Axtell (near Waco) union. He had been charged in September. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On October 10, Thomas Miller, former financial secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 815, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to two years of supervised probation, the first three months of which must be served in home confinement, for stealing funds from the Joliet-based union. He also was ordered to pay $21,070 in restitution, a $2,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Miller had pleaded guilty on May 19 after being charged earlier that month with one count of embezzlement in the sum of $10,886. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On October 9, Latasha Wilson, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1969, was charged in Ramsey County (Minn.) District Court with one count of theft from the Minneapolis-based union in the sum of $58,150 during the period January 2013-December 2015. Although Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, she was charged in neighboring Ramsey County, where the alleged offenses were committed. AFGE Local 1969 represents employees at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Andrew Thibodeau had a variety of ways of stealing. In the end, he couldn’t maintain the ruse. On October 24, Thibodeau, former secretary-treasurer for International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1433, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to three months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, for embezzling $70,379.30 from the Kensington, Conn.-based union. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Thibodeau had pleaded guilty in April immediately following the reading of the charges. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Thibodeau, now 72, a resident of East Hartford, defrauded his union, which represents workers at the Stanley Black & Decker plant in New Britain, Conn. Having begun his position in 2004, at some point after that he issued unauthorized paychecks … Read More ➡
John Coli is feeling a heavier load than usual these days. On September 21, Coli (in photo), until recently the most powerful Teamster in the Chicago area, was slapped with a 13-count superseding federal indictment for obstruction of commerce; concealment of facts on reporting forms; and income tax fraud. He previously had been charged in July on six counts of extortion related to his exacting payments from a Chicago TV production company. Prosecutors now estimate his take at $325,000, up from the original sum of $100,000. Coli, who resigned on the day of the original indictment, chose not to plead guilty. He might change his mind given that the IRS and the Labor Department are seeking full forfeiture of related assets. For a once-dominant figure in labor and politics, the fall has been swift.
Union Corruption Update has summarized the saga of John T. Coli Sr. more than once (… Read More ➡