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 ➡

Another DC37 Boss Ousted, $2 Million Unaccounted

The ongoing corruption probes into the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. has caught another union boss and three of his aides. AFSCME Local 1549 boss Albert A. Diop was suspended Mar. 3 by AFSCME after an audit found over $2 million in undocumented expenditures. Diop was a top lieutenant of recently retired and disgraced DC37 boss Stanley Hill. Diop was “widely seen as the power behind the throne at the mighty” DC37. Diop’s 1998 salary was $191,000, and he had access to a penthouse at DC37’s compound in lower Manhattan. Insiders said Diop used union funds for trips to Denmark, Japan and Switzerland. Diop’s post as an AFSCME Int’l Vice-President is pending.

The audit uncovered that Local 1549 had paid out $1.2 million directly to Diop and three other top bosses in the last four years. There was no documentation to justify … Read More ➡

New York Bosses Exchange Charges

Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 810 in N.Y. appears to be on the verge of a corruption war. President Louis Smith recently fired his ex-ally Pat Monaco as union business agent claiming Monaco misused his union credit cards. Monaco denied the charge and retorted that Smith was retaliating for Monaco’s corruption charges of Smith including alleged sweetheart employer contracts. Investigators reportedly seized Local 810’s records the last week of Feb.

Smith and Monaco started their stints as bodyguards for ex-boss Dennis Silverman. In 1993, the two turned on Silverman. He was ousted and the union placed in trusteeship. In 1995, the two were elected to union posts. Smith’s background includes an alleged 1983 beating of a Carpenters union boss and a 1988 weapons conviction. [Daily News 3/1/99]

Hoffa Campaign’s Fine Upheld
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 23 that Teamsters president-elect James P. Hoffa’s campaign must pay … Read More ➡

Suspended Ohio Boss Files Corruption Suit

Suspended secretary-treasurer of the Int’l Union of Electronic Workers, Ron Gilvin of Ohio, filed a federal suit Mar. 1 in Washington, D.C., claiming that high-ranking IUE bosses abused their power and misused union funds. The suit names IUE, president Edward L. Fire and 22 other IUE bosses as defendants. Among Gilvin’s allegations:

1) IUE president Edward L. Fire increased payments to IUE Dist. Councils run by his political allies by 300-400%. Gilvin, as IUE’s chief financial officer, says he was denied access to financial records to conduct district audits and his office raided by IUE officials.

2) IUE’s Executive Board planned to suppress dissent within IUE “arising from the Fire administration’s improper spending practices.”

3) IUE sent about $163,000 in payments to the AFL-CIO and told Gilvin the funds were for politics. Gilvin claims the funds were somehow routed to the Teamster money-laundering scandal that brought down Ron Carey. 

Gilvin … 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 ➡

New Subpoenas Stir Florida Probes

Federal labor racketeering investigators are looking into the possible misuse of $210 million worth of employee insurance contracts in the Broward Co. (Fla.) School Dist. After 30 months of apparent dormancy, the investigation is alive again with grand jury subpoenas delivered Feb. 12. The subpoenas requested minutes of the Superintendent’s Insurance Committee. A key member of that committee is Broward Teachers Union president Tony Gentile. [Sun-Sentinel 2/17/99]

Alternatively, the subpoenas may be targeting Fed. of Public Employees boss Walter “Buster” J. Browne. Brown heads a union the represents many non-teacher School Board employees and he is a member of the Insurance Committee. The union boss is also the ex-Port Everglades Commission chairman. Investigators have been looking into payment to Browne since Jan. 1992 from local shipping firms and two other unions: Dania Beach Am. Maritime Officers and Teamsters Local 769. Further, they’re interested in Browne’s influence on the Insurance Committee. … Read More ➡

Illinois Local’s Election Questioned

Darren Fish, who lost a rerun election for president of AFSCME Local 494 in Pontiac, Ill., said Feb. 12 that the local’s parent union is investigating the rerun. In Dec., Fish and incumbent boss Danny Jarrett split the original vote for president with a third candidate. Fish and Jarrett were the top vote-getters and had a runoff two days later. Fish won the runoff 198-184. But on Jan. 13, Local 494 threw out the runoff results and set another for Feb. 11. Jarrett won the second runoff 250-228. 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. A member “was telling new employees that I was no longer employed…, when really I was on vacation,” said Fish. [Pantagraph 2/13/99]… Read More ➡

Seattle Harassment Suit Winner Threatened

A day after ex-member Jennifer Murray won a $750,000 jury verdict in sexual harassment suit against Int’l Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union Locals 19 and 98 in Seattle and others, she and her family were threatened. Murray says she received death threats Feb. 13 and her mother was cursed by Longshoremen at a restaurant. Murray is so terrified, she plans to move away with her two children. Murray’s stepfather, a lifelong union foreman won’t speak to her. “My (step)dad wants nothing to do with me because I sued. I am no longer his daughter,” Murray said.

In July 1996, two weeks after she had a baby, Murray claimed she was repeatedly molested by a fellow Longshoremen in the hold of a cargo ship. She protested each time the man thrust himself on her. Before that, she said she had been subjected to unsolicited sexual comments and harassment that included being stalked … Read More ➡

Member Sues Massachusetts Boss for Harassment

Ruth A. Niemeyer has filed suit in U.S. Dist. Court in Mass. against Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am., Mass. Laborers Council, LIUNA Local 243 and boss James M. Porter, alleging sexual favors were demanded in exchange for job placements. Niemeyer is seeking $2.5 million. The 36-count, 84-page suit, filed Feb. 1, is based on claims Niemeyer made to the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. MCAD issued a probable cause ruling in Aug. on behalf of Niemeyer and an another member, Pamela J. Corey. “A probable cause ruling means there is merit to what they were claiming in the case,” said a MCAD official. Corey is considering a similar suit. Niemeyer’s suit says that between 1985-97 she was subjected to a continuing pattern and practice of gender discrimination, harassment and sexually abusive behavior. [Telegram & Gazette 2/24/99]

Ohio LIUNA Member Wins Dues Case
The Nat. Labor Relations Board ruled Feb. 23 … Read More ➡

Ex-Inmate Sues New York Boss for $100 Million

A mentally retarded ex-inmate of the Nassau County (N.Y.) Jail is suing the top boss of the jail’s correctional officers’ union, Salvatore Gemelli, and the county for $100 million for violating his civil rights. According to the ex-inmate’s Feb. 23 testimony in U.S. Dist. Court in Brooklyn, the union boss assaulted him twice shortly after he arrived in the jail — one time with a pot and pan. The inmate was in jail on a child sexual abuse charge and later pled guilty to a misdemeanor. This trial came amid a federal investigation into the jail and its union. Gemelli denied the allegations at his Feb. 24 testimony. [N.Y. Times 2/24-25/99]… Read More ➡