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.

AFSCME Local Treasurer in Oregon Indicted for Embezzlement

AFSCME logoOn March 30, Michele Pedersen, formerly treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2746, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon for embezzling about $8,500 from the Astoria-based union. During 2002-07, charge federal prosecutors, Pedersen, 41, a resident of Keizer (near Salem), wrote herself unauthorized union checks and altered union financial records to conceal the thefts. She was released after pleading not guilty. Trial is set for June 1. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Office.

Northern California Glass Workers Secretary-Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

Glass Workers logo (GMP)Curtis Iwatsubo confused his union debit card with a personal one. Now he's getting a belated lesson about the difference. On March 24, Iwatsubo, formerly financial secretary-treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union Local 52, was indicted in San Jose federal court for embezzling more than $47,000 from the union, which represents employees at Owens-Corning's Santa Clara plant. He's also charged with making false entries in the union check registry to conceal his thefts and making false statements to federal investigators.

Pennsylvania Postal Workers Local President Indicted

Postal Workers logoAt least Barbara Patton's misuse of funds was modest by the standards of many union officials. On March 16, federal prosecutors announced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania that Patton, formerly vice president and then president of Local 4469 of the American Postal Workers Union, has been indicted by a federal grand jury that she used her union credit card to cover unauthorized personal expenses. Patton, 57, a resident of Somerset, Pa., during June 1, 2007-November 30, 2008 allegedly embezzled $2,015.78. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-Board Members of NYC Corrections Officers Union Charged with Insurance Fraud

It might qualify as dark comedy. To prosecutors and union officials, it qualifies as theft. Allen Blake and Chandra LaSonde, each a former board member of the local Corrections Officers' Benevolent Association (COBA), were charged on Wednesday in Manhattan federal court with mail fraud. Prosecutors allege Blake, with LaSonde's help, filed and eventually collected a false life insurance claim on behalf of Blake's wife, Pearl, whom he'd recently divorced and who died not long after. Blake and LaSonde, each a guard at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex, were forced out of the union in December by union President Norman Seabrook.

Colombo Mobsters Charged with Extortion, Theft of Teamster Benefits

Colombo crime boss Thomas GioeliNew York City's Colombo crime family still has what it takes to generate income. Unfortunately for them, federal officials haven't forgotten. On Tuesday morning, March 9, prosecutors inside Brooklyn federal court announced the results of an unsealed indictment against eight persons who are suspected Colombo members or associates. The eight-count indictment alleges the defendants variously engaged in racketeering, wire fraud, extortion and embezzlement. All had been arrested earlier that day following a lengthy joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor.

President of Minnesota Postal Workers Local Pleads Guilty

It's easy to feel sympathy for Steven James McDeid. But that doesn't make his thefts excusable. McDeid, the former longtime president of Branch 388 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, pleaded guilty on March 24 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to embezzling $51,639.61 over nearly five years from the St. Cloud union. Charged on March 5, he remains free on bond pending sentencing.

Michigan Independent Union Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft

MichiganOn March 8, David Miller, formerly treasurer of Litchfield (Mich.) Independent Workers Union Local 373, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to embezzlement of funds in the amount of $50,501.99 from the union. He had been indicted in January. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transportation Workers Treasurer in Indiana Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

City busOn February 25, Richard Schwab, former financial secretary-treasurer for United Transportation Union Local 298, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to embezzling $46,472 from the Fort Wayne-based union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Local President in Detroit Charged

On March 4, Jerrold King, former president of United Steelworkers Local 842 in Detroit, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with one count of records concealment. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Detroit-Area AFSCME Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Records Fraud

AFSCME logoOn March 2, Brenda Bywater, former treasurer of Local 100 of the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of making false entries in the financial records of the Pontiac union. She had been charged in December. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Security Officers Treasurer in Minnesota Pleads Guilty to Theft

On February 19, Michelle Lyn Adler, former treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America Local 24, pleaded guilty in Goodhue County (Minnesota) District Court to theft of between $1,000 and $5,000. She then was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $1,700 in restitution, a $200 fine and an $83 surcharge. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Indiana Communications Workers Local Treasurer Sentenced

It's a familiar syndrome: Union official with gambling problem dips into the till to cover losses. Karen Snelling, formerly treasurer of the Gary Newspaper Guild, is yet another case. Snelling was sentenced on Thursday, March 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to three years probation plus six months of home detention for theft of $18,100 in union funds. She had been indicted in September and pleaded guilty in December to embezzlement from the union, also known as Communications Workers of America Local 34014.

Officer of ACORN-Controlled SEIU Local in Chicago Charged

Service Employees logoOn February 17, Pamela Williams, former travel/procurement coordinator for Service Employees International Union Local 880, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with one count of embezzling $6,080. The amount allegedly taken was modest, but the case has national significance. The Chicago-based SEIU Local 880, now known as SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, was founded some 30 years ago as a subsidiary of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, the scandal-plagued nationwide nonprofit network set to go out of existence on April 1. Pamela Williams may be little more than a small-time thief, but she's given critics of the leadership of ACORN, and the SEIU, another reason to believe that organized labor and street radicals shouldn't mix.

Montana Teachers Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement

AFT logoLaura Ann Brown's ruse ended last fall. Now she'll have five years to think about it. Brown, formerly president of American Federation of Teachers Local 5095 in Butte, Montana, was sentenced on March 11 in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana to five years probation for embezzling $7,731.54 in union funds. She had been charged last September and pleaded guilty in November. She also will have to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment.

Postal Workers Regional Chieftain in Texas Charged with Thefts

Postal Workers logoFrankie Sanders liked New Orleans - or so it seemed.  And he wanted his union to reimburse him for hotel stays there. The problem is that many, if not all, of those stays weren't real. Sanders, former Southern Region Coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with embezzlement and wire fraud following the unveiling of a two-count grand jury indictment on March 17. The southern region, one of five representing a grand total of 262,000 postal employees, is based in Houston.

Obama Bypasses Senate; Appoints Becker to NLRB

NLRB's Peter Schaumber and Wilma LiebmanBarack Obama and organized labor have made no secret about promoting each other's interests. Indeed, his 2008 presidential victory would have been much more difficult in absence of union financial contributions and volunteer work. Thus, Obama's recess appointment Saturday of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, effectively overriding a Senate Republican filibuster last month, served as a political IOU as well as an expression of the president's will. Becker, currently a top union lawyer, has argued that workers should not have any right to opt out of union representation. Moreover, he's counseled a large local union founded as a subsidiary of the corrupt and soon-to-be-extinct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Becker was one of 15 White House Easter recess appointments that included a less controversial NLRB nominee, Mark Pearce, who, like Becker, is a Democrat.

Armored Car Union Local Treasurer in Wisconsin Pleads Guilty, Sentenced

On February 25, Timmy Peltier, former secretary-treasurer of Independent Loomis Security Employees Union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to making a false statement or representation of a material fact on the union's annual 2006 and 2007 financial reports to the U.S. Department of Labor. He then was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $6,237 in restitution and a $50 special assessment. The union is based in Cudahy, a suburb of Milwaukee. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Government Employees Treasurer in Minnesota Charged with Theft

AFGE logoIn February 17, Jeffrey Ver Meer, formerly treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 169, was charged in Olmsted County District Court with one count of theft in an amount of over $5,000 from the Rochester, Minn. union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New York City School Bus Inspector Sentenced for Role in Scheme

School busMilton Smith is headed for prison. And his sentencing marks the conclusion of a Mafia-backed scheme dating back to the mid-Nineties that used members of a bus drivers union to steal from the New York City school system and affiliated contractors. On February 11, Smith, a former city bus inspector, received a sentence of 15 months in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for extortion and bribe-taking. The actions were in relation to a federally-subsidized special education program. He also will have to serve three years of supervised release and pay $21,000 in restitution. The maypole of the scam, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, since has undergone a leadership change following a trusteeship imposed by union headquarters.

Ohio Transit Employee Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

Transit busOn February 12, Lisa Wright, former secretary-treasurer for the Transit Employees Union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one count of embezzling $71,470.50 from the Bedford, Ohio union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Syndicate content