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.

New York Construction Boss Olivieri Guilty of Perjury

Joseph Olivieri photoFor union officials who wanted to line their pockets with benefit payments intended for members, Joseph Olivieri was the man to see. Now they will have to go elsewhere. This Wednesday a Manhattan federal jury found Olivieri, ex-executive director of the Long Island-based Association of Wall, Ceiling & Carpentry Industries (WC&C), guilty of perjury in a case that underscored the extent of Genovese crime family control of New York City-area construction contractors and unions. As part of the Justice Department racketeering probe, former Carpenters & Joiners District boss Michael Forde and eight other defendants already had pled guilty. Olivieri, currently out on $500,000 bond, faces up to five years in prison plus prosecution for four other charges, including conspiracy and fraud.

GM IPO: Buyer Beware

GM logoGeneral Motors is expected to begin soliciting for its IPO within the next few weeks. Some warning signs are surfacing regarding the risks relating to investing in New GM. These risks will be easily recognized by astute money managers and may require GM (and its owners, the US Treasury) to rely more upon the Mom and Pop investors who are less sophisticated and more susceptible to being taken advantage of.

Prior to filing for bankruptcy, General Motors funded its operations by borrowing from small investors. This funding came in the form of "baby bonds" that were traded on security exchanges and made readily available to retail buyers. Around the same time that unethical practices led to predatory lending in the mortgage industry, GM engaged in its own practice of predatory borrowing. The individuals who lent money in good faith eventually had their rights subordinated to the politically powerful labor unions.

Kentucky Bakery & Tobacco Workers Secretary-Treasurer Charged

Bakery & Tobacco Workers logoOn August 26, Connie Ball, former secretary-treasurer of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 531, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky with embezzlement of $7,554 from the London (Laurel County) union. She pleaded not guilty in September and goes to trial on November 15. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Florida Glass Workers Officer Sentenced for Records Fraud

Glass Workers logoOn September 28, Anthony Green, former vice president and recording secretary of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Local 208 in Bradenton, Fla., was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to two years probation and 180 days home confinement to making a false entry in union financial records. He was ordered to pay restitution to Zurich North America in the amount of $3,073.10 plus a $25 assessment. Green had pleaded guilty in July. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Local President in Virginia Sentenced for Embezzlement

AFGE logoOn October 15, Richard James, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1402, was sentenced in Arlington County, Virginia Circuit Court to two years in prison (suspended), two years supervised probation and 75 hours of community service for embezzling $9,850 from the Arlington union. James, who was charged in May and pleaded guilty in July, previously had made full in restitution. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transportation Workers President in New Jersey Sentenced

Transit busOn July 8, Joseph Moon, former president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1626, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to five years supervised probation for obtaining $14,931 in unapproved loans from the union checking account. He also will have to make restitution to the Edison, N.J.-based local in the amount of $14,285 and pay a $25 fine. He had pleaded guilty in September 2009. The sentencing follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Federal Building Security Guard Boss Charged with Fraud

dollarsThe saga of Caleb Gray-Burriss, the security officers' union boss who made members feel less secure, continues. On June 25, Gray-Burriss, founder and president of the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO), was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on four counts of mail fraud in an amount of more than $100,000. He was arrested four days later. Back in 2006 the Department of Labor had obtained a temporary restraining order removing NASPSO and Gray-Burriss as fiduciary agents of the union pension and health plans. "We never misused any of the membership money," he said in a phone interview.

Former Stage & Picture Operators President in South Dakota Sentenced

IATSE logoPaul Wyatt's personal trauma was real. Unfortunately, so were his acts of theft. Wyatt, formerly president and business manager of Stage and Picture Operators Local 220, was sentenced in federal court on September 13 to six months in prison, plus six months of home confinement and three months of probation, for embezzling more than $35,000 from the Sioux Falls-based union. He also will have to make full restitution. Wyatt originally pleaded not guilty this May, but changed his plea to guilty.

Florida Pastor Pleads Guilty to Theft from IBEW Fund

IBEW logoInternational Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 915 must have thought its benefits were in good hands. A minister supposedly doesn't steal. Gregory Sims, however, wasn't that kind of minister. Sims, pastor of Crossroads Church in Dade City, Fla. (Pasco County), pleaded guilty early in September in Tampa federal court to embezzling more than $800,000 from a union fund that he had managed as part of his second job as an investment services bookkeeper. He faces up to five years in prison. In addition, as part of his plea agreement, he will have to make full restitution.

Government Motors' Chevy Volt Sparks Criticism

Volt logoInformation about General Motors' Chevy Volt surfaced last week that caused the blogosphere to light up. It seems that the much-hyped Volt is technically a hybrid vehicle as opposed to a true electric car since at certain acceleration points it relies on a gas powered engine to assist its electric powertrain. This comes after three years of GM touting the Volt as a "one of a kind, all-electrically driven vehicle."  Sites such as Edmunds' Insideline.com proclaimed that "GM Lied: Chevy Volt is Not a True EV." There appears to be a disturbing picture developing at GM of a government owned corporation that is fostering a culture of deceit in order to generate public acceptance.

Indiana Auto Workers Local President Charged

Auto workersOn July 1, Jeff Napier, former president of United Auto Workers Local 151, was charged in Fayette County, Indiana Superior Court with three counts of theft for knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over property of the Connersville local. The charges follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Niagara Falls Mayor Pleads Guilty to IBEW Benefit Theft

IBEW logoFor four years, Vince Anello was mayor of Niagara Falls, New York. But thanks to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, he'll likely be in prison for a significantly shorter duration. On September 2, Anello pleaded guilty in Buffalo federal court to submitting false claims of pension benefits through his union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 237. He faces a sentence of at least 10 months and a restitution order of up to $120,000. In return, prosecutors agreed to drop a separate charge that Anello had engaged in influence-peddling on behalf of a local businessman in return for $40,000 in kickbacks. The case is local. Yet it does have national implications in the wake of the Supreme Court's interpretation this June of a federal law making it a crime for public or private officials to deprive constituents of "honest services."

How Can Auto Bailout Succeed When Its Based on Fraud?

Rattner photoIn the coming weeks we are sure to hear a lot of hype over the upcoming General Motors IPO. As we approach the November elections, it is a certainty that the Obama administration will tout the government intervention and nationalization of a major US industrial corporation as a huge success. Claims have already been made that the American economy and millions of jobs have been saved by bailing out GM. There are many people, including the Mom and Pop investors that financed GM through their bond purchases, who see a less savory side to the bankruptcy process and view it as a model of corruption and cronyism.

Indiana Bakery & Tobacco Workers Secretary Pleads Guilty to Theft

Bakery & Tobacco Workers logoOn July 6, Keith Hart, former financial secretary of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 315G, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, to one count of embezzling $13,904.69 from the Mt. Vernon, Ind. union. He had been charged in June 2009. The guilty plea follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Glass Workers Local Treasurer in Florida Pleads Guilty

Glass workers logoOn July 1, Woodrow Anderson, former treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union Local 208, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to making a false statement of material fact in a financial statement. He was ordered to pay restitution of $2,249.96 to Zurich North America. The union is based in Bradenton. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Chicago SEIU Local Official Sentenced for Embezzlement

Service Employees logoOn June 24, Pamela Williams, former travel/procurement coordinator for Service Employees Local 880 in Chicago, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to five years probation, five months of home confinement, and 300 hours of community service for embezzling $6,080.06 in union funds. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Williams pleaded guilty in March following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Indiana Transit Workers Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

Transit busOn June 23, Richard Schwab, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 298, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to two years probation and six months electronic monitoring for embezzling $46,728 from the Fort Wayne union. He also will have to pay outstanding restitution in the amount of $4,719.57 and a special assessment of $100. He pled guilty in February. The sentencing follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Government Workers President in Alaska Sentenced

AFGE logoOn June 23, Kevin McGee, former president of Local 3028 of the American Federation of Government Employees in Anchorage, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to 18 months of probation with 30 days of home confinement for making a false entry in union financial records. He also was ordered to pay $2,400 in restitution and a $2,400 fine. McGee pleaded guilty in February. The sentencing follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer in Louisiana Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn June 22, Keith Knight, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 13-1362, was sentenced in the 22nd Judicial District Court of Washington Parish, Louisiana to three years supervised probation for theft from the Bogalusa union. He also will have to pay $43,000 in restitution and a $500 fine, plus court and supervision fees. Knight had pleaded guilty to in June. The sentencing follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Milwaukee AFSCME Official Hit with Additional Theft Charge; Pleads Guilty

AFSCME logoIt's a minor coda to a major story, but it doesn't feel good to Paula Dorsey all the same. On June 22, Dorsey, formerly president of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin with one count of embezzling $532.50 from the Milwaukee union. She eventually pleaded guilty on August 11.

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