Ex-secretary Gail M. Brown-Ral and ex-treasurer Dax C. Heramis of the L.A. Airport Police Officers Ass’n must stand trial on grand theft charges of stealing over $100,000 from union coffers, a Municipal Court Judge Glennette Blackwell ruled Apr. 23. Both bosses are currently in jail for not posting $110,000 bail and face 4 years in prison if convicted. The case resulted from Nov. 1996 union request to the Dist. Atty.’s Office to investigate the alleged embezzlement of funds and equipment. Expenditures of $68,000 in 1993 and $62,000 in 1994 were questioned. Prosecutors reportedly found a number of checks made out to Brown-Ral, and others made out to ”cash” and cashed by Heramis. [City News Service 4/23/99]
Dissident Infighting in New York
A recently-empowered dissident in AFSCME’s scandal-ridden Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. has allegedly engaged in the sort of behavior that led to the ouster of the old-guard leadership in … Read More ➡
Union boss Lola McBryde was indicted Apr. 14 on charges of embezzling over $110,000 from Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees’ coffers. She is the third AFSCME Dist. Council 37 boss to be indicted for union corruption by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau. Three others have pled guilty. McBryde is charged with grand larceny and falsifying records and faces 19 years in prison. The AFSCME Local 1597 ex-president’s schemes included:
1) She got $50,000 for allegedly having the local pay for large amounts of food for Labor Day picnics and parades, while only a scant number of sandwiches were supplied. She then reportedly received kickbacks and shared them with two other DC37 bosses who have already pled guilty: Joseph DeCanio and Mark Shaplo. Both are cooperating with prosecutors. The alleged scheme worked by McBride approving fake invoices from DeCanio’s nephew’s bakery.
2) McBryde allegedly embezzled … Read More ➡
Ex-Clinton aide and long-time lawyer for questionable unions and their bosses, Harold Ickes has signed a contract with the Laborers’ Union of No. Am. in N.Y. to influence, lobby, etc., the Fed. Aviation Admin. on issues related to Stewart Int’l Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. LIUNA Local 17 is paying Ickes $20,000.
Just before becoming the Clinton Admin.’s deputy chief of staff, Ickes signed a $40,000 contract to represent a LIUNA fund. He admits that he didn’t do anything for LIUNA under the contract and signed it only because he was head of his law firm’s labor division. At the time, LIUNA and its president Arthur A. Coia were facing a Dep’t of Justice probe of alleged organized crime ties which could have (and should have) led to a DOJ takeover. LIUNA and Coia were, for all practical purposes, able to weasel out of DOJ’s racketeering suit in 1995, and many … Read More ➡
Michael Menechino, son of an admitted mob figure, collected more than $500,000 in pay during the six-year renovation of Erasmus High School in Brooklyn amid allegations from the contractor and others that he was rarely on the job. Payroll and union records show that from Jul. 1992 to Mar. 1999, Menechino was listed as the onsite steward for Teamsters Local 282.
Reportedly, veteran stewards earn as much as $100,000 a year. But Menechino never worked as a driver and owed his appointment to the Gambino crime family, according to court documents. The documents detail how his father, Peter Menechino, Sr., who was ousted from the Teamsters for mob ties, admitted to delivering shakedown payments and information between corrupt union bosses and ex-Gambino boss, Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano. The father told prosecutors how he arranged onsite steward posts for mob-approved members and reportedly his sons, Michael and Peter, Jr., were included. … Read More ➡
A state racketeering indictment against the Newspaper & Mail Deliverers Union of N.Y. that was tossed out of court in 1996 has been reinstated. The indictment of NMDU resulted from a 1992 probe by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau which led to charges against 29 bosses for crimes including systematic theft, extortion and beatings. In an unprecedented legal move, Morgenthau charged the union itself with “pervasive and extreme” criminal conduct. Reportedly, NMDU top boss Douglas LaChance and others made deals with the Bonanno and Luchese crime families.
Initially, the case was dismissed by the late trial court judge, Harold Rothwax, who held that a union wasn’t a “person” under the law, and it couldn’t be charged. But an appellate court overruled Rothwax in Dec. 1998, and in Mar. 1999, N.Y.’s highest court declined to reconsider it. Top Morgenthau prosecutor Daniel Castleman said the ruling is an important legal victory: … Read More ➡
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Apr. 8 that the federal government is not obliged to pay for the $8.2 million cost of supervising the Teamsters’ 1998 rerun election. The court reversed its own decision from a year ago. Now, the court holds that because the government’s supervision was optional under a 1989 consent decree, it was not obligated to pay for the supervision costs. This issue exploded in 1997-98 between the Dep’t of Justice and Congress after ex-boss Ron Carey’s campaign scandals came to light. Fighting for the best interest of taxpayers, many in Congress believed that after Carey’s people blew almost $20 million on the 1996 election, the union should pay for the rerun itself. [BNA 4/12/99]… Read More ➡
Union Dissident Darren Fish is now officially the president of the AFSCME Local 494 in Pontiac, Ill., after an AFSCME “judge” in Washington, D.C. announced his decision Apr. 11. Fish and incumbent bosses, Danny Jarrett, finished as the top two vote-getters in the Dec. 1998 election. In a runoff Fish defeated Jarrett by 14 votes. But, Jarrett filed a protest with the local’s board and a new election was held in Feb. 1999, which Jarrett won by 22 votes. Fish then filed a protest with the local and parent union. Fish criticized the revote due to the fact that only 80 out of 750 members caused the second runoff. Fish also said questionable methods were used in the second runoff. Jarrett plans to appeal. [Pantagraph 4/12/99]… Read More ➡
On Apr. 9, the Dep’t of Justice filed suit in Kansas City against the Int’l Bhd. of Boilermakers on behalf of two union dissidents allegeding that IBB placed restrictions on their local that amounted to an illegal trusteeship in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959.
On Apr. 15, the dissidents, Ernest “Skip” Patterson, president of the Nat’l Transient Lodge, and Gary W. Boring testified before Rep. John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) House subcommittee about why it took two years for the Dep’t of Labor to take any action on their complaint that rights of NTL members of IBB are being violated. Both called for Congress members’ rights under LMRDA to ensure that unions are being run democratically. Patterson testified that as the elected president of the NTD, he has virtually no authority. “We don’t elect our negotiating committee…We don’t elect our representatives. We don’t elect our stewards. We … Read More ➡
Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert Morgenthau’s probe of the scandal-ridden Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees’ Dist. Council 37 won his first two indictments on Mar. 31. DC37 Local 384 president Francine Autovino and treasurer Connie Lango were indicted for stealing over $240,000 from union coffers. Both pled not guilty at their arraignments on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records. Reportedly, both blamed the other for the missing thousands of dollars.
According to Morgenthau, Lango stole over $190,000 from May 1994 to Sep. 1995. She allegedly asked Local 384’s bank to write checks payable to herself, credit-card companies and car leasing firms. Reportedly, Autovino took over $50,000 by double-dipping on car expenses, filing false receipts and giving her friends and relatives freebie trips. Her alleged schemes included submitting invoices for printing union brochures and then named herself as the payee. Investigators are still looking into jewelry purchases … Read More ➡
Union dissidents who helped overthrow corrupt union boss Gus Bevona as head of the Service Employees Int’l Union Local 32B-32J in N.Y. are now under fire themselves from other dissidents who claim the union’s new leadership, appointed from Washington, has co-opted them. While the new leadership has stopped the lavish spending, it has done little to restore democracy or encourage the membership to get involved in union affairs.
SEIU president Andrew L. Stern, who is himself tainted by corruption linked to the Ron Carey-Teamsters scandal, took over the Local last month after Bevona retired as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by dissidents. The Local is now run by Thomas Balanoff. Dissidents said they were angry because they thought that the new leadership would change the dictatorial ways of the union.
“I see Gus Bevona. He was a dictator. I see Thomas Balanoff as a benevolent dictator, so … Read More ➡