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.

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 1530, 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.

AFGE President in Alaska Indicted for Embezzlement

Alaska railroadJeffrey Davies ran a railroad workers union.  His union brothers probably wish he would take a one-way trip to somewhere else.  On December 16, Davies, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 183, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska on one count of embezzlement in excess of $100,000 in funds from the Anchorage-based union.  Though members are not government agency employees, their employer is the Alaska Railroad, a corporation owned by the State of Alaska.  This status has enabled the union to affiliate with the AFGE.  The indictment follows a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

President of Security Workers Local in Houston Sentenced for Embezzlement

SPFPAOn March 1, Cynthia Angulo, former president of the Currency and Security Handlers Association, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 10 months of confinement, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling $61,272 in funds from the Houston union.  She also was ordered to pay full restitution.  Angulo had pleaded guilty in August.  The union is an affiliate of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Elevator Constructors Business Agent in New York Sentenced

Elevator Constructors logoOn February 26, Patrick Rommevaux, former business representative for International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 62, was sentenced in Onondaga County Court, N.Y. to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, for grand larceny in the amount of $16,545 from the Syracuse-based union.  He previously made full restitution.  Rommevaux had pleaded guilty in December immediately after being indicted.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Treasurer in North Carolina Charged with Fraud

AFGE logoOn February 23, Benjamin Stancil, secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 451, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in a four-count information with wire fraud against the Havelock, N.C. (near New Bern) union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-President, Vice President of New York SEIU Affiliate Charged

Service Employees logoOn February 19, Malkia King and Adrian Lindsay, respectively, former president and vice president of the Benefit Fund Staff Association (BFSA), were charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with embezzling funds from the New York City-based union in an amount of roughly $25,000.  The BFSA, with more than 600 members, is part of the powerful and politically-connected Service Employees International Union Local 1199, which represents health care workers in New York City and elsewhere in the northeast.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Financial Secretary in Michigan Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn February 18, Alton Alexander, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 2-479, pleaded guilty in the 8th District Court of Kalamazoo County, Michigan to one count of misdemeanor embezzlement in an amount of between $200 and $1,000 from the Plainwell, Mich.-based union.  He then was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay $2,553 in restitution, $300 in probation costs and a $100 fine.  He previously had paid restitution in the amount of $1,653.  Alexander had been charged last September.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Supreme Court Deadlocked in Friedrichs; Public-Sector Unions Win

In sports, there is a saying:  “There’s nothing worse than a tie.”  For public-sector unions, however, a tie is now reason to celebrate.  Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court announced it was deadlocked 4-4 over whether public-sector labor unions have the authority to force nonmembers to pay partial dues (“agency fees”) to keep their jobs.  The tie, made possible by the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia, removed the likely deciding vote in favor of the plaintiffs, the leader of whom was a California teacher, Rebecca Friedrichs (in photo). During oral arguments in January, a 5-4 win for the plaintiffs appeared certain.  The Court did not reschedule the case, and in so doing, left intact a dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims by a federal appeals court.  Mandatory fees remain a fact of life.   

AFGE Treasurer in Kansas Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

AFGE logoShelly Sutton spent a lot of time stealing from her union.  She’s now likely to do some hard time.  On February 17, Sutton, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 477, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to one count of bank fraud in the amount of $93,094.  The Wichita-based union represents employees at the local VA hospital.  She had been indicted last November for stealing $65,000 in union funds.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UAW Member in Louisiana Sentenced for Records Fraud

United Auto Workers logo On February 17, Danny Rawls, former member of United Auto Workers Local 2297, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to one year of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,208 for concealing acts of theft in financial records of the Shreveport union.  He had pleaded guilty in September after being indicted in March 2015.  Rawls and Local Vice President Gregory Hill had been charged with embezzlement and forgery totaling more than $12,000.  The actions followed a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-SAG Benefit Plan Official Pleads Guilty to $700K+ Tax Evasion

SAG logoWhen Bruce Dow resigned under pressure as longtime head of the Screen Actors Guild’s pension and health plans in April 2012 amid allegations of extensive self-dealing, a good deal of unfinished business remained.  Now the workload has gotten smaller.  On November 12, former plan chief information officer Nader Karimi pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to omitting more than $700,000 in income on his tax returns for the years 2005 through 2008.  Karimi had changed his “not guilty” plea to “guilty” before U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin.  Sentencing, originally set for March 11, has been reset for April 14.  He faces up to three years in prison.  The plea follows a probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.   

South Florida Teachers Boss Convicted of Fraud, Theft

Florida educationEducators have been responsible for some of the more flagrant cases of union corruption in recent years.  Patrick Santeramo, for one, doesn’t need any reminders of that.  On January 20, Santeramo, former president of the Broward Teachers Union, the Broward County, Florida affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, was convicted by a state jury on various theft, fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations.  Only weeks later, on February 12, he pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale federal court to one count of mail fraud.

Syndicate content