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.

Buffalo Metro Transit Union Treasurer Sentenced

Metro busFor someone who ripped off more than a quarter-million dollars, Thomas Pokrywczynski could have had things worse. On August 5, the former secretary-treasurer of Local 1342 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and treasurer of the ATU's New York State Legislative Conference Board was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to two years in prison and three years supervised release for embezzling a combined $254,000 from the two labor organizations. He had pleaded guilty in February of this year after being indicted in August 2009 for theft of $277,548.72.

Thief of Cincinnati Musicians Union Checks Sentenced for Thefts

On September 14, Tiffany Freeman was sentenced in Hamilton County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas to two years community supervision for three counts of check forgery against an account of American Federation of Musicians Local 1. She also will have to make restitution to the Cincinnati-based union in the amount of $2,260. Freeman, not a Local 1 employee, had been charged in December 2009 with stealing checks from its office.  She pleaded guilty this August. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Graphics Workers Secretary-Treasurer in Ohio Sentenced for Theft

On July 21, Jeffrey Kenney, former secretary-treasurer for Graphic Communications International Union Local 205-C, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to four months incarceration to be followed by two years of supervised release, including four months of electronic monitoring. Indicted in February, he pleaded guilty in May. Kenney had been charged by federal prosecutors with embezzling $14,388 from the Youngstown-based union over a three-year period and then filing a false financial report with the Labor Department to conceal a portion of his thefts.

NYC Newspaper Workers Interim Leader Sentenced

Times Square at nightLawrence DeAngelis might not have figured to be running Communications Workers of America Local 14170 as long as his predecessor had. But his tenure surely was too brief for his liking. On July 21, DeAngelis was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to a year in prison and fined $3,000 for stealing more than $60,000 from the union, which represents print shop and mailroom employees at several New York City-area daily newspapers, including the New York Times and the New York Post. He had pleaded guilty in April following a Labor Department investigation.

Did SEIU Ballot Fraud Play Role in Harry Reid Re-Election?

Harry Reid photoVotes without voters - the notion seems like something from "The Twilight Zone." Yet this outcome, the result of a mysterious computer glitch, may have helped re-elect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over his Republican challenger, Sharron Angle, last week by a 50.2%-44.6% margin. Actually, the "mystery" is very likely the doing of a local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which nationwide provides votes, money and muscle for the Democratic Party. Critics are charging that voting machines throughout Clark County (Las Vegas), where about three-fourths of Nevada's population resides, were rigged to place check marks next to Reid's name before a person even had voted. County officials insist that no tampering occurred. But the possibility can't be dismissed, especially given that one of Reid's sons is county commission chairman.

GM IPO is Wealth Redistribution Scheme

UAW/GM logosThe term "wealth redistribution" has been used by political pundits on the right who accuse Democrats of having a misguided agenda wherein the wealthiest Americans will be able to subsidize a government spending spree in order to redistribute wealth to the less affluent populace. General Motors, through its reorganization plan, has contrived its own version of wealth redistribution. This action was orchestrated by the Obama Administration as it took control of the GM bankruptcy process. Old GM shareholders and bondholders, along with taxpayers, lose out as new wealth is created for bankruptcy attorneys and advisers, investment banks and the politically connected UAW.

Boilermakers Apprenticeship Program Secretary in Florida to Plead Guilty to $1.2 Million Ripoff

Carolyn Sue Alderman-Connon was hired to manage funds for a union job training program. For her, managing and stealing apparently meant the same thing. In early October, Alderman-Connon, former financial secretary for Southeast Area Joint Apprenticeship Program of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, agreed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to plead guilty to two counts of embezzlement totaling more than $1.2 million from the Ruskin, Fla.-based (Hillsborough County) regional union fund. Each count carries up to five years in prison.

Minnesota Transportation Union Regional Officer Sentenced

Railroad crossingOn July 20, Edward Kobe, ex-general chairman of United Transportation Union General Committee of Adjustment (GCA) 325, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to three months in prison followed by two years supervised release for embezzlement. Last November, Kobe had pleaded guilty to stealing $16,200 from the Duluth-based GCA 325. But that proved to be only a third of his take. In addition to forcing him to make full restitution to the union, the court ordered him to pay $32,778.39 to the Railroad Retirement Board. Kobe also must pay a $30,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a joint investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Railroad Retirement Board's Office of Inspector General.

Detroit Steelworkers President Pleads Guilty to Records Fraud

Steelworkers logoOn July 20, Andrew Blackmon, former president of United Steelworkers of America Local 842 in Detroit, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of falsifying union records. He had been charged in June. The guilty plea follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Nurses Association Executive Director in Alaska Sentenced

NursesOn July 20, Thomas Renkes, former executive director of the Alaska Nurses Association, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to three years probation for embezzling funds from the Anchorage-based union during October 2007-August 2008. He also was ordered to pay $22,546 in restitution and a $2,000 fine. Renkes had been charged in April and pleaded guilty in July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Wisconsin Steelworkers Local Financial Secretary to Plead Guilty

Steelworkers logoNickolas Weihert didn't steal for very long. But even before his thefts were discovered, his union had decided his services no longer were needed. On October 5, Weihert, formerly financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 4845, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin with three counts of embezzlement totaling $450 from the union, which represents about 100 workers at the Waukesha Foundry. But it was part of an overall pattern of fraudulent transactions that netted him $17,256. Later in the week he agreed to plead guilty, an agreement requiring that he serve up to five years in prison and pay restitution. His drug habit had more than a little to do with his travails.

Indiana Teamsters Local Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzlement

TrucksOn July 15, Stacey Spalding, former bookkeeper for Local 215 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to one year at a work release facility and two years probation for embezzling $29,516 from the Evansville union. She also will have to pay $29,499 in restitution to Zurich Insurance of North America, $1,597 in restitution to various 401(k) accounts, and $100 in court fees. She had pleaded guilty in May. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

VA Hospital Employees Secretary in Minnesota Pleads Guilty

AFGE logoOn July 13, Lucy Irene Hastings, former recording secretary of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1969, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County, Minn. District Court to theft of union funds in the amount of $3,328.29. She had been charged in April. AFGE Local 1969 represents employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Minneapolis. The guilty plea follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Railroad Workers Treasurer in Colorado Sentenced

On July 13, Peter Maisel Jr., former treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 1517, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to five years probation for embezzling funds from the Pueblo union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,514.79. He pled guilty in April. The sentencing follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Related:

Rail Employees Local Secretary-Treasurer in Colorado Indicted.

CWA President in Ohio Sentenced for False Record-Keeping

On October 20, Gilbert Woods, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 84768, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to five years probation and six months house arrest for making false entries in union financial records. He also was ordered to make $25,465 in restitution, $20,000 of which would be payable to Travelers Insurance and the other $5,465 to the Kettering (near Dayton) union, and pay a $25 special assessment. Woods had pleaded guilty in July. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ohio AFSCME Local Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

AFSCME logoOn September 15, Brian Wilson, former treasurer for Local 2804 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to three years probation and 90 days home confinement for embezzling $10,500 in union funds. He had pled guilty in July. AFSCME Local 2804 represents employees of Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Washington State AFGE Local President Sentenced

AFGE logoOn July 12, Sid Mannetti, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1170, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Western Washington to two years probation with six months of home confinement for embezzling $50,463 in union funds during 2006-08. He also will have to pay full restitution. He had pleaded guilty in April. AFGE Local 1170 represents employees at Pacific Medical Centers in the Seattle area. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Election Day Prompts Rosy Projections for GM IPO

According to unnamed sources, the GM IPO will offer approximately 22% of the company for proceeds of about 10 billion dollars. Shares will be sold at $26 to $29 after a stock split. This puts the company's value at approximately 50 billion dollars, in the same area as Ford's market cap. Arguments can be made whether or not GM is worth more than Ford, but there are other more important facts to ponder. Why did Ed Whitacre recently disclose that the IPO would price between $20 and $25, only to see the media hype a higher figure based on leaks that no doubt came from the company itself.

Probably because today is Election Day. The auto bailout is even more unpopular than the stimulis spending or ObamaCare. The pressure is on GM to shed the "Goverment Motors" label.

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.

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