New Jersey Operating Engineers Local President Pleads Guilty to Kickbacks, Theft

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Operating EngineersDennis Giblin at least can be glad that theft of services doesn't run in the family. It's unlikely he would have gotten his job with International Union of Operating Engineers Local 68 otherwise. On Monday, August 9, Giblin, former president of the local and scion of a powerful New Jersey union and political family, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to receiving kickbacks and embezzling in connection with a business transaction during his tenure as head of the West Caldwell, N.J.-based union's job training and education program. He had been arrested in January 2009. 

Giblin, now 37, a resident of Jersey City, has an impressive pedigree. His father, attorney Vincent Giblin, serves as Operating Engineers international president and formerly had been chairman of the board for Horizon Blue Cross-Blue Shield of New Jersey. His uncle is Thomas Giblin, Local 68 business manager and New Jersey State Assemblyman (D-Montclair). Neither had been implicated in any offenses. Dennis Giblin wishes he were so fortunate. According to prosecutors, Giblin in 2004, while serving as administrator of a Local 68 job training fund, paid an Essex County contractor $315,000 to install audio-visual equipment at the training office. Eight months later, the company, at his request, installed equipment in his Jersey City condominium, discounting parts and performing free labor. In addition to the estimated $10,000 in kickbacks, he illegally kept a $1,329 couch paid out of the union checking account.

At his plea hearing, Giblin did not dispute Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato, who asked whether he had received an improper gratuity. He faces up to one year in prison come sentencing in November. The younger Giblin should have listened to his uncle, who commented following his nephew's arrest: "He's never really talked to me about this thing. Did he pay fair market price? That's the issue. Any time the government makes these representations, it's very serious."