Boss Diop’s Suspension Upheld

As reported in the last issue, DC37 and Local 1549 boss Albert A. Diop was suspended, with three associates, by AFSCME for undocumented and improper expenditures of union funds. An AFSCME judicial panel upheld the suspensions Mar. 23, and Diop filed for retirement. Reportedly, he will get a $70,000 golden parachute.  More troubling however is the fact that Diop, also an AFSCME Int’l Vice-President, apparently has not be removed from AFSCME’s board.

AFSCME said that Diop used the union funds to buy personal items totaling about $467,000. He spent $82,000 on camera and audio-visual equipment, $22,000 on jewelry and $23,000 on clothing. He hired maids for his lavish penthouse at DC37’s compound for at least $1,200 a month. He spent over $162,000 for stays at N.Y. City hotels, despite residing there. Also, Diop spent $135,000 on a leased Lincoln Town Car and took a $665 monthly car allowance. [N.Y. Post … Read More ➡

Rep. Boehner Looks to Expand Landrum-Griffin to Government Employee Union

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, opened a new round of union democracy hearings Mar. 17. The first hearing focused on extending financial reporting and other requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin Act) of 1959 to cover public-employee unions such as the scandal-ridden Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees. Testifying before subcommittees was 1) Professor Clyde Summers, Univ. of Pa. Law School, 2) Herman Benson, co-founder of the Ass’n for Union Democracy and 3) Professor Stanley Aronowitz of City Univ. of N.Y. The three stressed the necessity of the statute, while conceding that it has not always prevented abuses from occurring or stopped union officials from violating the spirit of the law, if not the letter.

Boehner said he has not decided whether he will reintroduce ex-Rep. Harris W. Fawell’s (R-Ill.) union democracy bill as … Read More ➡

Rhode Island Governor Puts Bosses above the Law

In 1995, R.I. Gov. Lincoln Almond (R) went on a campaign to get no-show state employees back to work. He publicized that his predecessor allowed 246 union bosses to spend up to 100% of their state-paid time on undocumented “union business.” Annual cost to taxpayers for the diverted time: $1.2 million. But now he is refusing to disclose the amount of state-paid time off his administration is giving union bosses unless the bosses give him permission.

The issue came to a head in response to questions about the recent promotion and $10,000 raise given to Louis Roccabello, a state-employee who spends at least 50% of each state-paid work week on business for AFSCME Dist. Council 94.

Even R.I. leftists were outraged. “The governor is elected by all the people, not just the public employee unions,” said a Common Cause spokesman. An ACLU spokesman said, “It is extremely disturbing that the … Read More ➡

Colorado Boss Guilty for Abusing Funds

The ex-president of the Denver sheriff’s union admitted Mar. 17 to using union funds at a casino and a strip club during a business trip to Las Vegas. The Denver Dist. Atty.’s Office said Joe Sanchez, ex-boss of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, used a union debit card at a casino and a union credit card at a topless bar called Crazy Horse Too. He purchased “Crazy Horse Money,” which could only be used to tip dancers. Sanchez made full restitution of $1,180. But he wasn’t fined, sentenced to jail, sentenced to community service or ordered to pay court costs. [Denver Post 3/19/99]

FBI Raids ex-New Jersey Bosses’ Homes
FBI agents raided the homes of Frank Ginesi, ex-president of the N.J. Policemen’s Benevolent Ass’n and one of his associates, William Saksinsky, Mar. 9 as part of a two-year probe of about $500,000 in missing union funds. The Dep’t of … Read More ➡

Buffalo Boss Barred, Keeps Pension

Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union court-appointed monitor Kurt W. Muellenberg’s yet-to-be-filed report bars Buffalo boss Frank H. Ervolino from ever working for two locals he once controlled. But the retired 75-year-old is reportedly planning to stay retired. Muellenberg’s decision prohibits the payment of bonuses or salaries, but it lacks the authority to block vested pension benefits. But, the report is the first finding of guilt against Ervolino. And the decision may lead to more. Union sources say a federal grand jury investigation may have begun work on bringing criminal charges against Ervolino.

Muellenberg’s report concludes that Ervolino, his wife and his daughter embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from HERE Local 4 and AFL-CIO Hospital & Nursing Home Council from 1990-95. Both are now in trusteeship. Ervolino was also president of the Laundry & Dry Cleaners Int’l Union. The Ervolinos “knew they were receiving full-time pay for less … Read More ➡

Inquest Ordered into Kentucky Death

In the ever-expanding Ky. AFL-CIO scandal, an inquest was ordered into the death of the group’s bookkeeper Donna Bayless. On Sep. 19, her body was found, with a pistol nearby. Ky. State Police originally said suicide was the apparent cause of death. But the Anderson County Coroner’s Mar. 15 inquest announcement means that the death may have resulted from another cause. Bayless and her husband, Morgan, the Ky. AFL-CIO’s ex-political director, were among several AFL-CIO officials suspended amid embezzlement allegations. Also, records were destroyed by an apparent arson at the Ky. AFL-CIO office, and records were stolen by an apparent burglary. [Courier-Journal 3/16/99]… Read More ➡

Rhode Island Pension Fund Manager Probed

According to the Securities & Exchange Commission, the pension manager for Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 99 in Providence, R.I., is responsible for “the biggest unauthorized diversion of funds” in New England in the last decade. Todd LaScola, the co-owner of CPA Network Advisors and owner of CPI Investment Management, has been accused of diverting at least $6 million from brokerage accounts of CPA to repay IBEW. LaScola reportedly invested $6.4 million from the pension fund in ultra-speculative promissory notes sold by a Chicago real estate developer, RBG Management Services. After the investment collapsed, he diverted money from customer accounts without permission to cover the loss. Allegedly, IBEW demanded an immediate return of the $6.4 million and after IBEW got its money back, it fired LaScola. No criminal charges or civil sanctions have been filed, but LaScola is still under investigation and his firms have been closed. [A.P. 3/15/99]… Read More ➡

Corruption Charges may Cost Michigan Casino Mogul’s License

Allegations of union corruption surrounding Michigan casino mogul, Anthony Soave, have jeopardized his latest $200 million venture — MGM Grand’s Detroit casino slated to open in 1999. Michigan law requires major investors to pass background checks and to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Soave’s trouble is he was indicted and arrested in a 1971 federal gambling conspiracy case, and law enforcement entities in Michigan and New Jersey claim he has had contacts with organized crime figures. Soave’s case was dismissed because prosecutors failed to get the proper signatures for a wiretap.

In addition to the gambling case, in which Soave was indicted with 20 others — many convicted bookies and known gamblers, Michigan investigators will reportedly scrutinize Soave and his dealings with New Jersey trash businessmen who turned out to be convicted felons or mob associates. Soave sold his trash-hauling company, City Management Corp., in 1998 for … Read More ➡

LIUNA Boss Coia Gets Slap on the Wrist

Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am. boss Arthur A. Coia was cleared Mar. 8 by his union’s “judge” on 15 of 16 corruption counts including associating with organized crime. The “in-house judge,” Peter F. Vaira, upheld only one charge of a conflict of interest resulting from Coia’s 1991 purchase of a Ferrari F40 for $450,000 with Viking Oldsmobile in Providence, R.I. Coia was only fined $100,000.

The Dep’t of Justice’s 1994 draft RICO complaint describes what was at stake: “LIUNA…officers…at all levels…have been chosen, subject to the approval of, and have been controlled by, various members and associates of organized crime. Four consecutive General Presidents of LIUNA, [including] Arthur Armand Coia…have associated with, and been controlled and influenced by, organized crime figures. Consequently, the rights of the members of the union to control the affairs of the union have been systematically abused. [Members] have been intimidated into silence by violence, … Read More ➡

Reformers to Challenge Coia’s Stranglehold in 2001

A new effort to oust LIUNA boss Arthur A. Coia has begun within LIUNA called Laborers for Justice. James McGough of Chicago said LFJ’s mission is to sweep organized crime from LIUNA by getting “honest rank-and-file laborers” elected at the 2001 convention. McGough said, “We will oppose each member of the entire General Executive Board that allied with Arthur Coia in 1996… These people should have had the moral courage not to run with Arthur Coia.” LFJ announced its formation to coincide with the outrageous Coia ruling. [BNA 3/8/99]

New England Laborers Hire Corrupt Ex-Mayor
Recently retired Cranston, R.I., mayor, Michael A. Traficante (R) and his sidekick Peter Alviti took positions in early Mar. with LIUNA’s New England office. LIUNA, one of America’s most corrupt unions, created the new government liaison post just for Traficante. Traficante’s 14 years in office were marred by corruption. Two of his administrators have been … Read More ➡