Jury Convicts Diop, Lubin for Fraud

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Two more bosses of the Am. Fed'n of State, County & Mun. Employees' Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. were convicted July 25 on charges that they helped rig a contract ratification vote in 1995. Albert A. Diop, who was AFSCME Local 1549 president, DC37 vice-president and AFSCME int'l vice-president, and Martin Lubin, ex-DC37 associate director, were convicted by a N.Y. jury. Diop faces up to four years in prison and Lubin seven. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7. DC37 has suffered over thirty indictments and over twenty guilty pleas in the last two years.

Diop was convicted on charges to defraud and falsify business records. Lubin was convicted on charges to defraud and forgery. While Lubin only was accused of helping rig the ratification votes, Diop has been charged with stealing over $2 million from his local and using a penthouse apartment at DC37 headquarters as a personal residence, while billing the local for rent as a business expense. That trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 17. Reportedly, Diop's annual salary from just Local 1549 was $206,000.

During the two-week trial, several witnesses linked Diop and Lubin to the vote fraud. Mark Shaplo, who had been Lubin's top assistant, said that he and Lubin marked bogus ballots together in an elaborate secret operation. Shaplo, who has pled guilty to vote fraud and embezzlement, testified that they switched pens, alternately using their left and right hands, to avoid the appearance that the same person was marking all the ballots.

Lubin's attorney Pamela Hayes said that she would file a motion to overturn the jury verdict. Hayes said there were errors in the instructions to the jury and improper remarks in the prosecutor's summation.

"This is not an anti-labor prosecution. It's a pro-labor prosecution. The victims were the union members," said Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert Morgenthau. He said "they show you can't rig elections and get away with it."  [BNA 7/31/00, N.Y. Times, N.Y. Post 7/26/00]