Buffalo Pension Fund in Trouble

The pension fund of United Bhd. of Carpenters Local 9 in Cheektowaga, N.Y., faces a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall and is predicted to go broke in nine years. Local 9 boss and head of the Buffalo Carpenters Pension Fund, Thomas W. Burke alleged there was no wrongdoing, but the fund hired the law firm Levy, Ratner & Behroozi to investigate the debacle. The fund has $25.7 million in assets and owes $58 million to retirees. The fund expenses outpaced its income by $1.7 million a year. [Buffalo News 6/21/99]… Read More ➡

Florida NEA Appeals Pro-Work Ruling

The Florida Teaching Profession-Nat. Education Ass’n has appealed a recent ruling by the Fla. Elections Commission that, if upheld, could have far-reaching implications in the way labor unions collect political contributions. The Commission ruled that teacher unions are breaking the law when they give employees forms at work to make campaign donations.

FTP-NEA has halted its statewide practice of asking new members, while at work, to make donations to
political accounts. Campaign solicitations are sent instead to employees at their homes. The union has not refrained from collecting political funds through payroll deductions, which many contend is illegal under the ruling.

Behind the policy is a Commission decision charging the Marion County Education Ass’n, an affiliate of the NEA, with violating a state law designed to avoid corruption. The law, similar to statutes in other states, bans the solicitation of campaign funds in schools and other government offices. The nine-member … Read More ➡

Indiana Dems Flip Out over Endorsement

The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, angered that the Marion County Democratic Party has accused it of
corruption and cronyism, is demanding an apology. A defiant party chairman Steve Laudig has refused to apologize. And, no apology, means no recommendations of endorsements for Democratic City-County Council candidates says FOP boss Dave Young. The brouhaha began when FOP voted to endorse Republican Sue Anne Gilroy for mayor over Democrat Bart Peterson.

Democrats immediately raised questions about how the vote was conducted. The decision was by a voice vote at a firefighters’ union hall rather than at their own lodge, with at least some members mistakenly told the vote would be taken over three hours. The Democrats issued a media release sent by e-mail by Laudig on Jun. 14: “Thirty years of cronyism, corruption and incompetence were underlined by the questionable FOP endorsement of the Republican mayoral candidate,” Laudig wrote. The release … Read More ➡

Indictment Total Reaches 27 in New York’s Corrupt DC37

On Jun. 15, Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau indicted nine more bosses of the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 on union corruption charges, bringing to the number of bosses indicted in the recent scandal to a shocking 27.

Albert A. Diop, ex-Local 1549 president, was accused of directing an elaborate fraud resulting in the ratification of DC37’s 1996 contract with N.Y.C. Martin Lubin, DC37 ex-associate director, was also indicted in the voting scheme.  Diop also allegedly stole $1.6 million via various scams: He allegedly spent $270,000 in personal expenses on the union’s credit card. He allegedly had the union spend over $500,000 for his penthouse. He allegedly took $817,000 in wrongful “hospitality money.” He allegedly used $4,300 in unauthorized union funds for listening devices in DC37 offices after Morgenthau began his probe last year.

Robert Taylor, ex-Local 983 president was indicted on charges … Read More ➡

Nevada Boss Indicted, Allegedly $53,000 Embezzled in Indiana

An ex-teachers union boss pled innocent Jun. 2 to a 20-count grand jury indictment in U.S. Dist. Court in Fort Wayne, Ind. for union corruption. Steve Confer allegedly embezzled over $53,000 in 1994-96 while treasurer of the Professional Service Org. of the Ind. State Teachers Ass’n.  Confer moved to Las Vegas in 1996, becoming exec. director of the Clark County Edu. Ass’n — the second largest Nat. Edu. Ass’n chapter. He resigned from that post in 1998.

Confer allegedly wrote himself $45,300 in checks and charged $7,800 on the union’s credit card for personal purposes. PSO sought to recover the funds. Reportedly, Confer settled by repaying the disputed amount in a 1997 agreement. But a private settlement doesn’t shelter Confer from prosecution. He faces a life ban from union office as well as 5 years in prison or a $10,000 fine for each charge. [Las Vegas Review-Journal 6/3/99]

New York Read More ➡

Coia’s Rhode Island Friend Off on Technicality

A state Ethics Commission probe into Frank E. Corrente — senior aide to Providence, R.I., Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. — suspiciously came to an end just a few days before he announced his retirement Jun. 9. The probe was into Corrente’s business dealings with the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am. Corrente had faced a $25,000 fine.

The three-year probe looked into whether a conflict-of-interest existed when a Corrente partnership sold an building to a subsidiary of LIUNA’s legal fund for $2.3 million in 1994. At the time of the sale, Corrente was the City’s chief negotiator with LIUNA Local 1033. He was actively working on a new contract that included the City’s payment into LIUNA’s legal fund.

One of Corrente’s partners in the real estate venture was his long-time friend —  LIUNA top boss Arthur A. Coia.  Additionally, Corrente’s son, Darren Corrente, is a member of Coia’s law … Read More ➡

Rhode Island Union Sues Ex-Boss for $36,000

The E. Providence, R.I., Fraternal Order of Police filed suit Jun. 3 against its ex-boss Alan A. Gouveia, alleging that he “misappropriated, embezzled, stole or converted” at least $36,000 of union funds for personal use in 1994-96. FOP is seeking to recover the full $36,000 plus: punitive damages, an accounting of improperly taken or received property and funds, audit expenses, return of all FOP records and attorneys’ fees.

The suit claims Gouveia “routinely skimmed a portion of the dues proceeds from the City” by cashing the checks at a credit union and pocketing some of the money for himself. The suit also alleges that on various dates in 1994-96, he withdrew cash, up to $1,500 at a time, from FOP accounts without supporting documentation. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 6/4/99]

New York Union Attorney Loses License
On Jun. 4, Bernard Cohen, the ex-gen. counsel of the N.Y. Dist. Council of Carpenters, was sentenced … Read More ➡

Supervision over Kentucky AFL-CIO to End

AFL-CIO’s nine-month “emergency monitorship” over the Ky. AFL-CIO will reportedly end next month after the state federation holds a rescheduled convention. But, the Ky. State Police and the FBI are still investigating a Sep. 4, 1998 arson that destroyed records at the federation’s Frankfort office and an Aug. 10 burglary of records, as well as hundreds of thousands of missing dollars. The convention was originally scheduled for Oct. 1998, but delayed by the scandal.

Ky. AFL-CIO bosses Bobby Curtis, Bobby Barnett and Ron Cyrus were suspended in Oct. 1998 and taken off the payroll in Dec. 1998. The day after the monitorship was imposed, Ky. AFL-CIO bookkeeper Donna Bayless disappeared. Her stepson found her body four days later on a remote piece of family property. In Mar. 1999, a Ky. jury unanimously ruled the death a suicide. Federation records show that its check-writing machine was used to pay Bayless and … Read More ➡

Kentucky Bosses, Politicos’ Indictments Dismissed

The campaign-finance indictments of Ky. Democratic Gov. Paul Patton’s two top aides and two Teamsters bosses were controversially dismissed Jun. 3 by Ky. Circuit Judge William Trude, Jr. The four are: Skipper Martin, Patton’s chief of staff and 1995 campaign manager; Danny Ross, Patton’s labor liaison who ran a pro-Patton campaign for the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO between stints on Patton’s state payroll; Lon Fields, ex-boss of Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville, where Ross ran the campaign; and Robert Winstead, secretary-treasurer of Local 89 and recording secretary of the Teamsters’ state council, through which the national union paid for Ross’ campaign work. A special grand jury indicted the four for allegedly violating campaign finance laws by secretly arranging the Teamsters’ employment of Ross for pro-Patton efforts in the 1995 election, in which Patton beat Republican Larry Forgy by 21,560 votes, 2.2 percent of the total. Patton is up for reelection … Read More ➡

Maine Boss Fired for Lying

Timothy Smith, a Cumberland County Jail correctional officer at the Cumberland County Jail and a high-ranking official of an unidentified union, was accused of vandalizing property and then lying about it in an attempted cover-up and was fired Jun. 4 by Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. Smith also faces misdemeanor charges for criminal mischief and criminal conspiracy to file false public reports. Smith’s union was reportedly upset when told about the firing, especially since Smith was the jail’s union steward.

According to jail officials, an investigation began last fall after a feud among members of a fantasy baseball league exploded into alleged criminal behavior. Smith’s league broke down in acrimony because of, among other things, a disputed trade between teams within the league, as well as a controversial ruling by the league’s “commissioner.” Smith allegedly vandalized the car of Johnny Booker, a league member, and allegedly sprayed graffiti and damaged … Read More ➡