Union Corruption Update

Since 1997, NLPC has become a high-profile and credible source for information about America’s labor unions through our publication Union Corruption Update.

The newsletter has been referenced in many other media outlets including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and National Journal.

South Carolina Postal Workers Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

APWU logoConsidering what she had been accused of stealing, Sharon Holmes should consider herself lucky.  On March 15, Holmes, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 807, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to one count of embezzling $41,823.  She had been indicted last September not only for embezzlement in this amount, but also for wire fraud in the sum of $178,330.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

California Dentist Pleads Guilty to Scamming Teamster Benefit Plan

dollarsDavid M. Lewis for a while seemed as resourceful in his billing as he was in his drilling.  But in the end, the Sacramento dentist was too clever by a half.  On January 11, Lewis pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to defrauding a Teamster-sponsored health care plan for United Parcel Service employees out of at least $1 million in unnecessary or nonexistent work.  He had been indicted on 18 counts in February 2014 following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the California Attorney General’s Office and Dental Board.  A former Lewis employee, Nichol (Ramirez) Lomack, earlier had pled guilty.

Michigan Letter Carriers Treasurer Sentenced for Theft

Letter Carriers logoOn March 14, Timothy Casperson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 249, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one year of probation for embezzling $9,650 in funds from the Menominee (Upper Peninsula) union.  He also was ordered to complete 200 hours of community service, and to pay a $500 fine and a $100 special assessment.  Casperson already has paid restitution in the amount of $10,062.  Casperson pleaded guilty last December following his indictment last June.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Boston Plumbers Bookkeeper Charged with Thefts

Plumber at workOn March 10, Esther LaFontant, former bookkeeper for United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 12, was charged in Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court with three counts of theft totaling approximately $155,000 from the Boston-based union.  She also was charged with falsifying entries in the books of her accounting firm.  The charges follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Massachusetts State Police.

Broward County Teachers Boss Sentenced for Fraud, Kickbacks

Florida education logoPatrick Santeramo’s union career ended over four years ago.  The fallout continues.  On April 22, Santeramo, who had run the Broward Teachers Union for a decade, was sentenced in Fort Lauderdale federal court to 18 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for wire fraud in an “accountability” program.  He also was ordered to pay $93,800 in restitution and a $4,000 fine.  The prison term is set to run consecutively to a five-year sentence handed down days earlier in a state case involving allegations of contractor kickbacks and false reimbursements.  Santeramo was convicted in January by a jury in the state case; he pleaded guilty in February in the federal case.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Rhode Island Landscaping Firm Owner Sentenced for Union Benefit Scam

downtown ProvidenceLike any businessman, Steven Pagliarini wanted to minimize his labor costs.  But he also shortchanged laborers in the process.  On April 15, Pagliarini, an executive of two Rhode Island landscaping and nursery firms, one union and the other nonunion, was sentenced in Providence federal court to three years of probation for conducting a scheme for avoiding payment of scheduled benefits to union employees.  In addition, he concealed the employment status of nonunion workers from a state agency so as to pay employees with unemployment checks.  The information had contained four charges – three for document falsification and one for wire fraud.  As part of his sentence, he must pay restitution totaling $171,695.22.  Pagliarini pled guilty on January 28 after announcing his intent to do so on January 4.

National Staff Organization Treasurer in South Dakota Charged

National Staff Organization logoOn March 15, Kenneth Potter, former treasurer of the South Dakota chapter of National Staff Organization, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota for embezzling $4,130 in funds from the Pierre, S.D.-based union.  The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  National Staff Organization, based in Lincoln, Neb., represents several thousand personnel in a wide range of unions.

Steelworkers Treasurer in Missouri Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn March 24, Terry Aters, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 7686, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to one count of embezzling $153,434 in funds from the Marston, Mo.-based union.  Aters had been indicted last October.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Long Island Utility Workers Treasurer Charged with Theft; Pleads Guilty

Utility Workers logoSay this for Charles Burke:  He’s making amends.  On April 6, Burke, former treasurer of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 365, pleaded guilty in Nassau County (N.Y.) District Court to stealing more than $111,000 in funds from the Valley Stream, N.Y.-based union, which represents employees of American Water.  While he could receive up to a year in jail at his June 13 sentencing, it’s not likely.  The plea deal calls for three years of probation with no jail time.  Burke had been arraigned a month earlier.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Labor Unions and Al Sharpton: An Enduring Partnership

With few exceptions, unions are powerful engines of egalitarian policy and its most potent political vehicle, the Democratic Party.  As the party platform now heavily overlaps with that of demagogic black identity politicians like Al Sharpton, labor leaders have become prominent supporters of Sharpton and his New York-based nonprofit, National Action Network (NAN).  The bond was very much in evidence at Manhattan’s Sheraton Times Square Hotel last Friday afternoon at a panel, “The State of American Labor Unions Today,” one of nearly 30 panels convened during the NAN annual convention held April 13-16.  Despite a couple of no-shows, the speakers satisfied the mostly black crowd, calling for more union organizing, more government programs and more activism to counter the "racist" Right.

BLET Secretary-Treasurer in Nevada Charged with Theft

BLET logoOn March 11, Patrick Cunningham, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 229, was charged in the Justice’s Court of Union Township, County of Humboldt, Nevada, with one count of theft of funds in an undisclosed sum from the Winnemucca union.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Laborers Local Treasurer in Arizona Sentenced for Fraud

LIUNA logoOn March 4, Therlen Benally, former treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, was sentenced in the Superior Court of Maricopa County (Ariz.) to three years of probation for theft from the Phoenix-based health care workers union.  She also was ordered to pay $1,220 in restitution and $215 in special assessments.  Benally had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted on 29 counts last October.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Atlanta-Area Maintenance of Way Treasurer Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

BMWE logoOn March 4, Nathan Lee, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 536, pleaded guilty in Fulton County District Court to theft of funds from the Suwanee, Ga.-based union in the sum of $4,098.  He then was sentenced to five years of probation.  The guilty plea and sentence follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Washington, D.C. Iron Workers Business Manager Indicted for Kickbacks

Iron Workers logoOn March 3, Juan Carlos Recinos, business manager and secretary-treasurer of Iron Workers Local 201, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on seven counts of taking $18,700 in kickbacks from public works employees on the premise of needing money to pay legal bills, when instead Recinos allegedly kept the money for himself.  The indictment follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

ILA Local Financial Secretary in Texas Pleads Guilty

Longshoremen's logo On February 19, Elmer Ray Booker, former financial secretary of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1350, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to one count of embezzlement of funds from the Houston-based union in the amount of $42,018.  Booker had been charged in March 2015.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE President in Alaska Indicted for Embezzlement

Alaska railroadJeffrey Davies ran a railroad workers union.  His union brothers probably wish he would take a one-way trip to somewhere else.  On December 16, Davies, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 183, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska on one count of embezzlement in excess of $100,000 in funds from the Anchorage-based union.  Though members are not government agency employees, their employer is the Alaska Railroad, a corporation owned by the State of Alaska.  This status has enabled the union to affiliate with the AFGE.  The indictment follows a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

President of Security Workers Local in Houston Sentenced for Embezzlement

SPFPAOn March 1, Cynthia Angulo, former president of the Currency and Security Handlers Association, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 10 months of confinement, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling $61,272 in funds from the Houston union.  She also was ordered to pay full restitution.  Angulo had pleaded guilty in August.  The union is an affiliate of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Elevator Constructors Business Agent in New York Sentenced

Elevator Constructors logoOn February 26, Patrick Rommevaux, former business representative for International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 62, was sentenced in Onondaga County Court, N.Y. to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, for grand larceny in the amount of $16,545 from the Syracuse-based union.  He previously made full restitution.  Rommevaux had pleaded guilty in December immediately after being indicted.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Treasurer in North Carolina Charged with Fraud

AFGE logoOn February 23, Benjamin Stancil, secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 451, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in a four-count information with wire fraud against the Havelock, N.C. (near New Bern) union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-President, Vice President of New York SEIU Affiliate Charged

Service Employees logoOn February 19, Malkia King and Adrian Lindsay, respectively, former president and vice president of the Benefit Fund Staff Association (BFSA), were charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with embezzling funds from the New York City-based union in an amount of roughly $25,000.  The BFSA, with more than 600 members, is part of the powerful and politically-connected Service Employees International Union Local 1199, which represents health care workers in New York City and elsewhere in the northeast.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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