On March 18, Elmer Ray Booker, former financial secretary for International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1530, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with embezzling over $42,000 in funds from the Houston union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Unions, even those representing government employees, are private organizations. Yet a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reveals that taxpayers in one state effectively are being forced to cover some of the costs of public-sector union official business. The study, authored by CEI labor policy analyst Trey Kovacs and titled, “A Remedy for Taxpayer Giveaway to Unions” (March 25, 2015), in the face of considerable resistance, dug up clear evidence that state and local government agencies in Missouri are subsidizing public-sector unions during working hours without loss of member pay. These “release time” clauses, whether or not built into collective bargaining agreements, are at odds with the public interest, deceptively costly, and almost certainly illegal.
It is little secret that public-sector unions have eclipsed their private-sector counterparts in terms of membership density and political influence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 6.6 percent … Read More ➡
On March 25, Andrea Hobgood, former secretary for Ironworkers Local 58, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to five years of probation, and was ordered to pay $3,600 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, for embezzling funds from the New Orleans-based union. She previously had paid $14,039 in restitution. Hobgood had pleaded guilty last March after being charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On March 19, Thomas Wolfer, former financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84729, pleaded guilty in the State of Ohio, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, to one count of theft in an unspecified amount from the Fayetteville, Ohio union. The plea follows a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.… Read More ➡
On March 11, Jennifer Gent, former office manager for Sheet Metal Workers (SMART) Local 12, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to three years of probation, the first ten months of which must be served in home detention, for embezzling $30,297 in funds from the Pittsburgh union’s Journeymen Apprentice Training Fund. She also was ordered to pay full restitution. Gent pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in April. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Timothy Sanchez couldn’t maintain the ruse forever. And he’s beginning a sentence because of that. On March 5, Sanchez, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 906, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for embezzling more than $51,000 from the union, which represents about 200 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Resource Center in Topeka, Kan. and Waco, Texas. He also will have to make restitution in the amount of $50,156, a sum slightly less than what he took.
Federal prosecutors had alleged that Sanchez, now 40, a resident of Topeka, made unauthorized charges with his union debit card, wrote unauthorized checks from a union account to cover personal expenses, and concealed his thefts by making false statements on financial reports to the Department of Labor. Sanchez had pleaded … Read More ➡
On March 4, Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to embezzling $31,528 in funds from the Rochester (Beaver County), Pa.-based union. He had been indicted last July. That same month, about two weeks earlier, another former Local 475 president, John Vetterly Jr., had been sentenced to nine months of house arrest and five years of probation for embezzling $26,605 from the union. In each case, the actions followed an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
For Juan “Alex” Cedeno, the party’s over. And the bill has come due. On March 6, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of false-record keeping in connection with his theft or misappropriation of more than $90,000 in funds from the Queens, N.Y. union. Cedeno had been arrested and charged last May after a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Court records show that Cedeno, a resident of Queens, during April 2009-October 2011 used a union credit card to run up $58,303 in unauthorized charges at strip clubs, clothing retailers, a local Hooters restaurant, and various casino-hotels in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and the Caribbean. To conceal his thefts, he co-signed more than $35,000 in checks from the union general fund and transferred … Read More ➡
It was a scam that was the talk of Florida. And two cops, both leaders in their police union, played no small part in making it happen. This past January, Nelson Cuba, former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), pleaded guilty to three charges related to his transferring more than $500,000 from an illegal gambling enterprise to his own use. Ex-FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas had pleaded guilty last April. The convictions were part of a state probe into a gambling and money-laundering operation nominally run by a charity. Participants netted nearly $300 million until the ring was busted two years ago. Though not among the 57 arrested, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned, at Governor Rick Scott's request, given the fact of her public relations work several years earlier on behalf of the charity.
The State of Florida allows slot machines in Seminole tribe-owned casinos and at dog … Read More ➡
Stephanie Hicks wrote lots of checks from her union accounts. The problem is that they didn’t always go to cover union expenses. Hicks, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2207, was arrested and charged on March 11 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of Alabama with embezzling more than $132,000 in funds from the union, which represents VA hospital employees in Birmingham. She had been indicted by a grand jury in February for bank fraud, forgery and aggravated identity theft. The charges follow a joint probe by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Hicks, 43, a resident of Birmingham, served as president of AFGE Local 2207 during July 2007-July 2013. But she likely did more than simply run her union. Prosecutors are alleging that she made a series of unauthorized transactions from the … Read More ➡