Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

The year 2018 saw the indictment, conviction and sentences of plenty of organized labor scams. New York City played host to some of the largest. For sheer magnitude, nothing anywhere could match the network of union fraud surrounding the construction of Hudson Yards, a large-scale, mixed-use development on Manhattan’s West Side. Set for completion in 2024, the project from the start has been a source of easy money for labor organizations affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. The general contractor, Related Companies, having reached the limits of frustration, filed suit last March with the State Supreme Court against the council and its president for promoting or allowing illegal practices that allegedly have added over $100 million to the total project cost.

In other cases from the Big Apple, the president of a United Industrial and Service Employees local, Rocco Fazzolari, pleaded guilty … Read More ➡

New Jersey Executive Pleads Guilty to UAW Benefit Fraud

First, the union leader pleaded guilty. Then, it was his business partner’s turn. On December 14, Lawrence Ackerman, head of a pair of shell insurance brokerages, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to a superseding information for health care fraud, part of a long-running scheme that fleeced a United Auto Workers benefit plan and a Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate out of a combined $6.6 million. He had been indicted in January 2017. Sergio Acosta, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2326, pleaded guilty to his role in the scam last April. The actions follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Union Corruption Update has covered this case twice before (here and here). Lawrence Ackerman, now 54, a resident of Old Tappan (Bergen County), N.J., was … Read More ➡

Auto Workers Official Sentenced for Accepting Bribes from Chrysler Execs

Looking back, Nancy Adams Johnson probably doesn’t think the money was worth it. On December 18, Johnson, former chief negotiator for the United Auto Workers with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was sentenced in Detroit federal court to a year and a day in prison, and ordered to pay restitution and a $10,000 fine, for conspiring with certain UAW and Chrysler officials to receive more than $40,000 in cash payments and gifts in return for dropping certain issues during contract talks a few years ago. Johnson, who had been slapped with a five-count indictment this March, pleaded guilty in July. She is the seventh person to be sentenced in the scandal, which first came to light in July 2017. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to prosecutors, Nancy Johnson, now 57, … Read More ➡

Two Chrysler Executives, UAW Official Sentenced for Roles in Bribery Conspiracy

The fallout from the Chrysler-United Auto Workers scandal continues. On November 7, two former executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Jerome Durden and Michael Brown, along with an ex-UAW official, Keith Mickens, were sentenced in Detroit federal court for their roles in a broad scheme in which representatives of the auto manufacturer bribed union negotiators to avoid raising key issues during contract negotiations a few years ago. They are the third, fourth and fifth defendants to be sentenced in the scandal, estimated at $4.5 million, which also involved embezzlement and income tax evasion. The latest actions, said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, represent “further strides in our effort to root out corruption” at FCA and UAW.

Union Corruption Update has covered this pay-for-play scandal many times since it broke last July. The primary culprits were Chrysler Vice President Al Iacobelli, UAW Vice President General Holifield, and Holifield’s girlfriend and … Read More ➡

Illinois UAW Local President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On October 25, Anthony Edmunds, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2419, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to one count of embezzling funds from the Danville, Ill. union in the sum of $19,482. He had been indicted last December. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-Chrysler Executive Sentenced in UAW Training Fund Scandal

As a key figure in the Chrysler-United Auto Workers training fund scandal, Al Iacobelli expected a stiff sentence. And that’s what he got. On August 27, Iacobelli, former vice president of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 66 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release for attempting to bribe certain UAW officers with more than $1.5 million in cash and other things of value in 2015 in hopes of persuading them to drop contract demands, and for embezzling funds for his own use. Iacobelli was ordered to pay $853,522 in restitution, a $10,000 fine and a $100 assessment. He had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted last July. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Alfons “Al” Iacobelli, now 58, a … Read More ➡