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.

Michigan Communications Workers Local President Indicted for Theft

Communications workersOn April 15, Belinda K. Woods, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 84-415 in Grand Rapids, was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $10,988.86 and one count of falsifying union records. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 5/28/09).

Security Employees Financial Secretary in Georgia Indicted for Embezzlement

On April 10, Dianne Drawdy, former financial secretary of Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) Local 576, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on 16 counts of embezzling nearly $18,000 in funds from the Baxley-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 5/22/09).

Federal Employees Local Treasurer in Ohio Charged with Theft

AFGE logoOn April 10, Monica Smalls, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2209 in Dayton, Ohio, was charged in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas with theft of $500 or more. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. AFGE Local 2209 represents employees at the VA Medical Center in Dayton. (OLMS, 5/22/09).

Treasurer of Wisconsin Stage Employees Local Sentenced for Embezzlement

For nearly a half-decade, Carl White thought he had his scam covered. But the Madison, Wisconsin union official today rues the day. On April 9, White, formerly treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 251, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin to one year and one day in prison, plus three years of supervised release, for embezzling nearly $86,000 from the union. He had pleaded guilty in January.

Northern California Plumbers Local Business Manager, Wife Indicted for Thefts

Plumber photoRobert and Theresa Ann Carr seemed like a normal married couple, not the sort who would steal from their union. But a federal grand jury has indicted them for doing just that for more than seven years. On April 9, the Carrs were charged in Sacramento federal court with embezzling more than $45,000 from United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 228. Robert Carr, secretary-treasurer and business manager of the Yuba City, California union, and his wife, who may have been a temporary union employee, allegedly lined their pockets to pay for a wide range of personal expenditures. Mr. Carr denied all charges, saying: "We've been working on (this case) for a long time and we're denying everything. It'll all come out in court."

Administrative Assistant for Federal Employees Local in Baltimore Indicted

On April 7, La Rose Elsezy, former administrative assistant and bookkeeper of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1923 in Baltimore, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on one count each of theft and aiding & abetting. Elsezy allegedly cashed unauthorized checks from the 7,000-member union's bank account, forged signatures, and made false entries in financial records. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 5/22/09).

Obama Nominee Supports Racial Quotas in Civil Service Hiring

Sonia Sotomayor photoSonia Sotomayor, nominated by President Obama this morning to be our nation's next Supreme Court Justice, is being hailed as an old-fashioned American success story. Born to Bronx, New York, Puerto Rican parents of modest means and educated at Princeton University and Yale Law School, in 1992 she became a federal district judge and in 1998 a federal appeals judge. Obama chose her in part because of his stated preference for life experiences that bring "empathy" to the bench. He thus far has sidestepped the issue of whether he favors mandatory racial and ethnic hiring quotas. But given Sotomayor's position in a class-action appeals case originating in Connecticut, he may not have that luxury much longer.

Ex-New York Labor Leader-Assemblyman Sentenced for Racketeering

Brian McLaughlinAfter more than a year of anxious waiting, Brian McLaughlin has learned the consequences of taking the low road to achieve the high life. On May 20, McLaughlin, formerly president of a powerful New York City-based labor organization and a seven-term State Assemblyman, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $25,000 following his guilty plea in March 2008 to a multiple federal racketeering suit. Union Corruption Update has covered the story continuously since McLaughlin's offices were raided in March 2006 and McLaughlin himself was arrested that October.

Ohio Machinists Local Officer Sentenced for Records Fraud

On April 7, Jeffrey Baker, former co-chairman of the Picket Committee of International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 1943, was sentenced to 180 days home confinement and two years probation, and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and a $25 special assessment for making a false entry in union records. An investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management earlier had determined that Baker misappropriated more than 100 strike pay checks and forged member signatures on most of them. He pleaded guilty in January and made restitution in the amount of $16,050. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Ex-Michigan Communications Workers Local Financial Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On April 3, Kevin Welch, former financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84-415 in Grand Rapids, Michigan pleaded guilty in the 61st District Court of Kent County, Mich., to one count of embezzlement in an amount between $250 and $1,000. He had been indicted in March on one count of embezzlement in an amount between $1,000 and $20,000. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Postal Workers Secretary-Treasurer in Kentucky Charged with Embezzlement

On April 3, Richard M. Clark, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 468, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky with embezzling $18,680 in funds from the Bowling Green, Ky. union and then concealing and destroying financial records. The charges follow a Labor Department investigation. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Cleveland-Area Independent Transit Employees Ex-Local President Sentenced for Theft

On April 3, Fernando Acevedo, former president of the Transit Employees Independent Union, was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Court to two years probation, and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and pay $7,300 in restitution for attempted theft from the Bedford Falls, Ohio union. He pleaded guilty in March. The sentencing follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Electrical Workers Secretary-Treasurer in Minnesota Convicted of Theft

IBEW logoOn April 2, William Thomas Brown, former financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 886 in New Hope, Minnesota, was convicted in Hennepin County District Court of theft of union funds in the amount of $6,467.05. He was sentenced to three years probation and 30 days of home electronic monitoring, and ordered to make restitution. The conviction follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

SEIU May Have Pressured White House into Withholding Stimulus Funds for California

SEIU logoWith about one-eighth of the nation's population, it is to be expected that California would receive a substantial share of the $787 billion federal fiscal "stimulus" package recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. But the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in exercising political leverage, reportedly is playing a major behind-the-scenes role in holding up billions of dollars set for distribution to that state. The dubious merit of the stimulus plan is a separate issue. Of primary concern here is the 2-million-member labor organization functioning as a de facto government agency under Obama.

Former Chicago Teamster President Pleads Guilty to Role in Election Rigging; Three Others Convicted

TruckersConsidering what lies ahead, Robert Walston is probably glad just to get this part of his legal troubles behind him. The former president of Chicago's International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 743 had been forced out of his position in August 2007 in the wake of his alleged role in an election-rigging scheme three years earlier. This past March 23, Walston pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, theft from a labor organization, and property embezzlement. He had been named the previous March as a co-conspirator in a superseding indictment. More recently, three of his co-conspirators were found guilty following a three-week trial.

Washington, D.C. Local Officials Sued for Fraud, Intimidation

The Washington Teachers Union’s reputation couldn’t have sunk any lower than several years ago.  Its chieftain, Barbara Bullock, and close allies in and out of the union from 1995-2002 ran their union like a candy store, ripping off at least $4.6 million from WTU coffers.  It was only in late 2002, with the release of a damning independent audit ordered by the parent union, the American Federation of Teachers, that the reign of theft ended.  Virtually all persons charged in the case either pleaded guilty or were convicted by jury.  Bullock, an out-of-control spendthrift, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a nine-year stretch in federal prison.  One would have thought that the local’s current leaders would go to any lengths to avoid even the appearance of malfeasance.  But old habits die hard – or at least a recent lawsuit alleges.

Upstate New York Financial Secretary of Asbestos Workers Charged with Theft, Records Fraud

On April 1, Frederick Joseph McManus, financial secretary of Asbestos Workers Local 30 in Syracuse, was charged in the Criminal Court of the City of Syracuse, N.Y. with grand larceny in an unspecified amount and falsifying union financial reporting forms. The charges follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the City of Syracuse. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Convicted Laborers Official in Hawaii Denied Request for Exemption from Office-Holding Ban

Laborers logoOn April 2, Oliver Kapau III, formerly lead field representative of Local 368 of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) in Honolulu, was denied a request for an exemption from holding union office. Section 504 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act prohibits union officials convicted of certain crimes from holding office for at least 13 years. Kapau had been convicted of money-laundering in November 2002. The U.S. Labor Department informed him last June of its decision to continue the ban. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Convicted Minnesota Plumbers Local Business Manager Denied Request for Lift of Ban on Holding Office

On April 1, Thomas James Martin, former business manager of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 15, was denied a request in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota for an exemption from holding union office. Section 504 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act prohibits union officials convicted of certain crimes from holding office for at least 13 years. In April 2003 Martin had been convicted of mail fraud and theft from his Minneapolis union. The following month the U.S. Department of Labor informed him of its decision to impose a ban. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

Former Financial Secretary of Ohio Steelworkers Local Sentenced for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn March 30, Steven Snyder, former financial secretary of Local 5724 of the United Steelworkers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to five months in prison for embezzling $78,893.47 in union strike fund benefits. He also will have to serve an additional five months of home confinement as part of three years of probation. The union is based in Clarington, Ohio. The sentencing follows a joint probe by the FBI and the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 4/21/09).

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