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.

Northern California Plumbers Treasurer, Wife Charged in Superseding Indictment

PlumberOn August 18, Robert Carr, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 228, and his wife, Theresa Ann Carr, were charged in Sacramento federal court in a superseding indictment with three additional counts related to embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $13,497. The pair previously had been charged in April 2009 with embezzling more than $45,000 from the Yuba City, Calif.-based union over more than seven years. Mr. Carr at the time denied all charges. The latest indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Steelworkers Financial Secretary in Arkansas Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn August 17, Peggy Bolen, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 898, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to embezzling $61,541 in funds from the Redfield, Ark. (between Little Rock and Pine Bluff) union. She had been indicted in March. The indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Electrical Workers Local Business Manager in Florida Sentenced

IBEW logoOn August 18, John Parisi, former business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 682, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Florida to one year of probation and 25 hours of community service for entering false financial statements in the records of the St. Petersburg-based union. He also will have to pay $13,053 in restitution and a $25 special assessment. Parisi pled guilty back in May. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Milwaukee Independent Workers Union President Pleads Guilty

On August 17, Royce Austin, former president of the Progressive Organization of Worker Representatives, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to one count of embezzling $26,330.80 from the Milwaukee union. Austin had been indicted in May. The indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Three Officers of UFCW Local in New York Charged in $2.4M Scam

UFCW logoUnited Food and Commercial Workers Local 348 in New York City for more than three decades has been a family affair - a Fazio family affair. And right now the family needs a good lawyer. On October 26, Anthony Fazio Sr., Anthony Fazio Jr. and John Fazio Jr. were arrested and charged in Manhattan federal court with racketeering, extortion, money-laundering and other offenses in connection with a scheme through which they stole about $2.4 million from local members and employers for more than a decade and a half. The defendants, respectively, the union's longtime past president, immediate past president and immediate past secretary-treasurer, kept the money or shared it with cronies. "As leaders of Local 348, the Fazios were supposed to advocate on behalf of their members, not strong-arm and threaten business owners in order to make a profit under the table," commented U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Postal Workers Treasurer in Georgia Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Postal Workers logoOn August 17, Bobby Harrison, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 979, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to one count of embezzling $21,737.11 from the Gainesville, Ga.-based union. The guilty plea follows a joint investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General.

Oregon Warehouse Workers Local Ex-Secretary Probed for Theft

Evening in PortlandA bookstore, even a large one, isn't the kind of workplace one associates with union thievery. But there are exceptions to every rule. Two months ago, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it would investigate a former secretary-treasurer of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 5, Britta Duncan, for thefts totaling up to $50,000 from the union, which represents employees at Powell's Books, a retail chain in the Portland, Oregon area. Current Secretary-Treasurer Ryan Takas acknowledged the existence of the DOL probe on September 22.

Town Uses Federal Funds to Buy Chevy Volts

Akerson and Chevy Volt photoEvery once in a while I come across an article that sheds light on what a boondoggle the green initiatives of the Obama Administration are. The latest evidence comes as General Motors tries to prove high consumer demand for the Chevy Volt as it tries to meet its goal of 10,000 vehicles sold in 2011. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the town of DeLand, FL is buying five Chevy Volts. That is not the disturbing part of the story. The article reports that the town is using taxpayer money it has received from a $1.2 million federal grant that is earmarked partially to help with the purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles and other energy-efficient upgrades, including electrical charging stations at City Hall. From the information I gathered on DeLand, it has a population of about 25,000 people.

Musicians Union Local Secretary in San Antonio Pleads Guilty

MusicianJuan Rios is a lucky man, all things considered. Rios, formerly secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Musicians Local 23, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on October 27 to embezzling funds from the San Antonio union, which represents more than 200 employees who work in various South Texas music organizations, including the Symphony Society of San Antonio and the San Antonio Pocket Opera. He had been indicted in August for two counts of embezzlement in the amount of $15,407 and one count of possession of forged securities. He faces up to five years in prison at sentencing in March.

Minnesota Postal Workers Local Secretary Charged with Theft

On August 16, Cherity Perez, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 631, was charged in Kandiyohi County (Minn.) District Court with felony theft of $1,240 from the Willmar-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Corrections Union Treasurer in Massachusetts Resigns Following Allegations

Police officerLt. Roy Renaud until recently worked at a county jail. He's hoping he won't be an inmate. On September 23, Renaud, a 20-year veteran of Worcester County (Mass.) Jail and House of Correction, resigned his post in the wake of evidence implicating him in the theft of an unspecified sum of funds from the union where he serves as treasurer, New England Police Benevolent Association Local 275. His departure came three days after he was placed on unpaid administrative leave. So far, it's been a matter for internal affairs. "At this time we're still in fact-finding mode and determining whether it should be referred to an outside agency," said Jail Superintendent Shawn Jenkins, declining to comment on how the jail learned of the allegations. The union represents about 40 to 50 officers at the West Boylston correctional facility.

Federal Treasury Workers Local Official in Atlanta Charged

On September 20, Rebecca Mercer, former treasurer of National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 284, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia with 10 counts of wire fraud totaling $4,403.11 from the Atlanta-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Carpenters Office Manager in Oregon Pleads Guilty to Theft

CarpentersOn September 19, Toni Lancaster, former office manager for Millrights & Machine Erectors Local 711, an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to embezzling funds from the Portland union. Lancaster, a resident of the Portland suburb of Milwaukie, had been indicted in March 2010 for thefts totaling about $68,000. At the time, she pleaded not guilty. Sentencing is set for this January. The indictment and guilty plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Detroit-Area School Principal Charged with Embezzlement

Teacher's deskTo some, Samuel Craig has been an excellent role model. But to prosecutors, and at least one member of his local school board, he's an embezzler. He may have a tough time avoiding the latter tag. On September 28, Craig, formerly assistant principal at Highland Park Community High School, near Detroit, was charged in 30th District Court, State of Michigan, with embezzlement from his union, the Highland Park Association of School Administrators, where he served as treasurer. Craig also was charged with using a fraudulent transaction device.

FBI Arrests 11 in Probe of Massive LIRR Disability Scam

doctor bribery photoThey might not have been Oscar-worthy performances. But the acting job by hundreds of Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees and their enablers was convincing enough to run a racket that could wind up costing U.S. taxpayers $1 billion or more. On October 27, FBI and New York State agents arrested 11 persons for operating a scheme by which retired workers at the heavily unionized LIRR allegedly visited doctors who would prepare phony medical histories, allowing retirees to receive outsized pension and "disability" checks, courtesy of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. One arrestee, in fact, was a former union president. The investigation was triggered by revelations a few years ago of unusually high rates of disability claims and awards. "This was a game where every retiree was a winner," said FBI New York bureau head Janice Fedarcyk.

Why Didn’t NHTSA Immediately Report Chevy Volt Fire?

Volt fire photoOver five months ago, a Chevy Volt that had been crash tested weeks earlier and was sitting in a government storage facility burst into flames. The story was just recently reported by news outlets like the New York Times, a source that certainly can not be accused of being on a right wing witch hunt to discredit electric cars. The Chevy Volt has been very controversial with questions raised regarding the rush to electrify America's auto fleet at the expense of taxpayers, particularly when the main player in the field is an entry of Government Motors. The latest question that has yet to be asked is, "why did NHTSA delay reporting the spontaneously combusting Volt?"

Michigan Utility Workers Local Financial Secretary Pleads Guilty

On August 11, Robert Cole, former financial secretary of Utility Workers Union of America Local 124, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $11,605.59, one count of filing a false report and one count of making false entries in union records. The union is located in Irons (Lake County), Mich. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Treasurer in Florida Guilty to Theft; Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn August 11, Dakota Wilson, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 9-802, pled guilty in Circuit Court of Nassau County, Florida, to theft of funds from the Yulee (north of Jacksonville)-based union. She then was sentenced to five years probation, and ordered to pay $20,157.98 in restitution, $498 in fines and a court surcharge. She had been charged and arrested in June with theft of $19,472.53 in union funds. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Bailed-Out GM Earnings Disappoint

Government Motors graphicGeneral Motors reported disappointing earnings yesterday and share price fell over 11% (compared to about 3% for broader markets) to $22 and change, down 33% from its IPO offering at $33 about a year ago. Taxpayers saw a paper loss of over $1 billion on their "investment" in just one day. Individual investors may have been confused by initial headlines that trumpeted an earnings beat by GM at the same time that pre-market share price signaled that the earnings report was a disappointment. Let's take a look at what drove the move as well as where GM may be heading.

UFCW District President in Pennsylvania Pleads Guilty to Theft

Food & Commercial Workers logoOn August 9, Ernest Milewski, former president of United Food and Commercial Workers, Northeast District Council, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one count of embezzling union funds and one count of embezzling assets from a union-sponsored health care benefit program, each in an unspecified sum. Union Corruption Update reported on this case back in July. Milewski at the time had been charged with embezzling a combined more than $200,000 from the council, which is based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and its allied benefit fund. The charge and guilty plea follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Syndicate content