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.

Amalgamated Transit Union Treasurer in Dallas Charged; Pleads Guilty

ATU logoOn March 30, Johnny Wilson, former financial secretary-treasurer for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1338, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with one count of embezzling $120,352 in funds from the Dallas-based union.  He then pleaded guilty.  The charge and guilty plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New York AFGE President Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

AFGE logoA deceased fellow union member was William Davis’ ticket to the good life.  It now might be his ticket to prison.  On April 6, Davis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1119, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of wire fraud in connection with his theft of funds from the Montrose (Westchester County), N.Y. union.  The local represents employees of the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System’s FDR Campus.  He had been indicted last October for wire fraud and making false statements in union financial records following a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Office of Inspector General.

Local UTU Secretary-Treasurer in Mississippi Pleads Guilty

SMART logoOn March 29, James Adams, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 427, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to one count of making false statements in financial records of the Byram, Miss.-based local.  Adams had been indicted last October for embezzling $45,043 in union funds as well as records fraud.  The national union is now known as the Transportation Division of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART).  The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Chicago Transport Workers Local President Pleads Guilty

TWU logoOn March 24, Simiel Campbell, former president of Transport Workers Union Local 2014, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of making a false statement in a union financial statement.  He had been charged in a superseding indictment this March after his original indictment in December 2013 for embezzling $19,433 in funds from the Chicago union.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Cleveland-Area Utility Workers Vice President Indicted for Theft

Utility Workers logoOn March 17, Arthur Boedecker Jr., former vice president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 270, was indicted in the Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, for unauthorized lost time payments from the Brooklyn Heights union in the amount of $40,203.  The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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 several years ago, but 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 a school district-funded, union-run program.  He also was ordered to pay $93,800 in restitution and a $4,000 fine.  The prison term will run  consecutive 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 Executive 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

Labor unions in this country are engines of egalitarian policy and its most potent political vehicle, the Democratic Party.  As the party platform heavily overlaps with that of demagogic black identity politicians, most of all, 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 on a discussion panel, “The State of American Labor Unions Today,” one of nearly 30 held during the NAN annual convention of April 13-16.  Despite a couple of key no-shows, the speakers gave the mostly black crowd what it wanted:  a rousing call for union organizing, welfare state expansion and "anti-racist" activism. 

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 logoJuan Carlos Recinos had quite a scam going.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to hide it for very long.  On March 3, Recinos, business manager and secretary-treasurer for International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing 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 over several months from employees on the false premise that the workers had to cover unspecified legal bills.  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.

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