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 ➡

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 ➡

Ohio Local “Illegally” Fined Worker $32,500

Nat. Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board stating that local Painters union bosses levied illegal fines of $32,500 against a worker who exercised his right to refrain from formal union membership. Officials of Painters & Allied Trades Local 1275 in Columbus levied the fines after construction worker James Ott sent two resignation letters to union officials in an attempt to resign his union membership. Local 1275 officials ignored his legal right to resign and instead held an internal union “court” and levied the fines after Ott joined another union.

“Once again, union chieftains prove that their main concern is preserving at all costs the unchecked power they wield over workers,” said NRTW’s Stefan Gleason. “There can be no doubt that this attempt to extort a worker for more money than many people make in a year will send … Read More ➡

New York Times Declares New York the “Union Corruption Capital”

On Feb. 15, the New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse declared N.Y. City to be “the national capital of union excess and corruption” and “the mother lode of union corruption.” Here are some excerpts:

“Other cities are well known for union corruption, of course, among them Chicago, Boston, Providence, R.I., and several New Jersey locales. But labor investigators and experts say no other city today comes close to New York in the number of officials under investigation or the dozens of union locals under trusteeship. …Labor corruption is so widespread in New York that union locals representing 300,000 workers — nearly one-fourth of the city’s unionized work force — have been in trusteeship at some point over the last two years.”

The U.S. Dep’t of Labor and FBI “have placed more racketeering investigators in New York than in any other city. Although other cities may have extensive corruption in two or … Read More ➡

Bosses Threaten Wall Street over Lobbying

Top AFL-CIO and AFSCME bosses have recently threatened several Wall Street firms with pulling union pension funds from anyone who dares to suggest individuals, rather than the federal taxpayer, be allowed to invest their Social Security dollars. The union threat letters went to nine firms that manage billions in pension assets for union members: Fidelity Investments, J.P.Morgan, State Street Global Advisors, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Am. Express, Chase Manhattan, CitiGroup and Bankers Trust N.Y. [Washington Times 2/19/99]

Ickes Aids Clinton Senate Bid
Fresh off the U.S. Dep’t of Justice’s scandal heap, Harold M. Ickes has reemerged as a political handler of Hillary Clinton’s possible N.Y. Senate candidacy. On Feb. 18, Ickes reportedly began contacting N.Y. union bosses, campaign gurus and county leaders on Clinton’s behalf.  On Jan. 29 Atty. Gen. Janet Reno controversially chose not to appoint an independent counsel to probe possible illegal acts by Ickes on … Read More ➡

New York Reformers Booted by Boss Newman

Reforms of the mob-ridden N.Y. Dist. Council of Carpenters, launched in Jun. 1996 by the United Bhd. of Carpenters, may have been derailed. The reforms began with UBC president Douglas McCarron ousting the council’s corrupt boss, Frederick Devine, who was convicted in Aug. 1998 on embezzlement charges. Other corrupt bosses were replaced with rank-and-filers as business agents. But recently, three reformers have been fired reportedly because they did their jobs too well. “I was told I wasn’t a team player,” said reformer Mike Bilello who was fired after he removed several shop stewards for illegal work.

William Keating was told the same in Jan. by UBC supervisor Roger Newman. “He told me, ‘You’re just not on the team.’ I said, ‘I visit twice as many [construction] jobs as anyone else.’ He says, ‘There you go again, you act like you’re a superstar.'” Keating says he saw “lots of dirty deals” … Read More ➡

Florida Racketeering & Extortion Trials Begins

The federal racketeering and extortion trial of three bosses of the Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 675 in southern Florida began Feb. 17. Ex-business manager, vice president and president of the local, Joseph R. Gagne, as well as his associates Dennis J. Walton and Roy Savigliano have allegedly kept control of the local by beating, threatening and shooting at union members and others who refused to support their control. [Palm Beach Post 2/18/99]

Hawaiian Teamsters Indicted for Arson
Two prominent members of Teamsters Local 996 in Honolulu were indicted by a federal grand jury Feb. 17 for  arson. Joseph “Joe Boy” P. Tavares, Jr., was charged with conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of arson and faces 25 years in prison. George E. Cambra was charged with conspiracy to commit arson and faces 5 years. Cambra is also the owner of George Cambra Movie Production Trucks, Inc., and … Read More ➡

Judge Fines Union $10 Million

U.S. Dist. Judge Joe Kendall in Dallas fined the Allied Pilots Ass’n at least $10 million Feb. 13 for ignoring his back-to-work order and continuing a sickout that stranded tens of thousands of passengers. Kendall said the fine could be well over $10 million because it was intended to reimburse American Airlines for losses due to the sickout. Kendall stated, “Unfortunately, the radical element that appears to be in control of [APA] seems determined to fly American Airlines into the side of the mountain, taking themselves, the company, their co-workers and their customers with them.” Kendall also held bosses Richard LaVoy and Brian Mayhew in contempt for halfheartedly telling pilots to end the sickout. LaVoy was fined $10,000 and Mayhew $5,000. [N.Y. Times 2/14/99]

QUOTABLE QUOTE
“Looking out the window, it sure looks cold out there… A typical rotten February weekend… Comforting, isn’t it, to think that top…labor leaders are … Read More ➡

Hoffa Certified, But Delayed Again

Tom Leedham, the boss who lost the 1998 election for Teamsters president, is continuing his textbook example of electoral “sour grapes.” On. Feb. 23, the court-appointed election appeals masters Kenneth Conboy affirmed James P. Hoffa’s certification as Teamsters president, but Leedham, a Ron Carey-loyalist, was granted 14 days to appeal Conboy’s ruling to U.S. Dist. Judge David N. Edelstein. Leedham and allies have successfully kept Hoffa from taking control of the union for nearly three months after his election. Hoffa canceled his Mar. 6 inaugural in Washington, as well as Mar. 7 in Chicago and Mar. 13 in L.A. [Detroit News 2/25/99]

Texas Boss Disqualified from Office
All Teamsters officers elected in 1998 have been certified except one: James P. Hoffa slate member, James D. Potter of Texas, a vice-presidential candidate for the Southern Region. Potter was disqualified for breach of union election rules. He reportedly lied about breaking donation … Read More ➡