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.

Las Vegas Transit Workers Local President Charged

Las Vegas strip at nightOn March 15, Rose Marie Sotak, former president/business agent and acting treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1758, was charged with one count of felony theft of an unspecified sum of union funds in Justice Court, Las Vegas Township, Clark County, Nevada. The union is based in Las Vegas. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. The complaint includes a warrant for Sotak's arrest and surety bail of $10,000.

Teamsters Official in Chicago Sentenced for Embezzlement

Teamsters logoOn March 21, John Gianonne, former vice president International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 706, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three months of home confinement and one year of probation for embezzling $11,900 in funds from the Chicago union. Gianonne, who already has made restitution, also must pay a $100 special assessment. He pled guilty last December after being charged in November. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Texas Letter Carriers Local Treasurer Convicted of Embezzlement

Letter Carriers logoOn March 15, Wanda Jackson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 4065, was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on embezzling funds from the Plano-based union of $41,246.95. She had been indicted last July. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Michigan Machinists Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

On March 14, Renita Dompier, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 283, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Northern Division, for embezzling $8,725.99 from the Baraga, Mich. (Upper Peninsula) union and falsifying local financial records to cover up the thefts. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Federal Employees Ex-President in New Mexico Sentenced

On March 13, Gloria Porter, former president of National Federation of Federal Employees Local 2049, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for fraud in connection with embezzlement of union funds. In addition to serving time, Porter also will have to pay $143,457.50 in restitution plus a $300 special assessment. She had been convicted on more than 100 counts at a jury trial last June following her indictment in December 2010 for stealing about $135,000. The union represents various employees at the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards, the FBI and the Las Cruces Police Department.

Related:

New Mexico Federal Employees Union Official Convicted

Romney Must Clarify Positions on Auto Bailouts and Energy Subsidies

A couple of stories surfaced recently that should be of concern to voters that are analyzing how a Romney presidency would differ from the current administration. President Obama has a track record that can be examined to get a grasp of his agenda, but Governor Romney needs to further explain his positions on two key areas that many voters would expect to see a divergence with our present leader. The reports bring in to question whether or not Romney would be any different from the administrations over the past 12 years when it comes to dumping billions of taxpayer dollars into subsidies and bailouts.

Postal Workers Treasurer in NE Ohio Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

APWU logoOn March 21, Edward Kozusko, former treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 443, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to embezzling $12,613.20 in funds from the Youngstown union. He had been charged eight days earlier on March 13. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Pittsburgh-Area Letter Carriers Local Secretary-Treasurer Indicted

NALC logoOn March 13, Frank Rysz, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1124, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania with embezzlement of $12,514.91 in funds from the New Stanton, Pa.-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transportation Union Secretary-Treasurer in New Jersey Sentenced

UTU logoOn March 6, Kevin McKnight, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1390, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to four months of community confinement, four months of home confinement and three years of probation for embezzling approximately $68,000 in funds from the Laurence Harbor, N.J. (Middlesex County) union. He was charged and pleaded guilty in November 2011. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

West Virginia Postal Workers Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Postal Workers logoOn March 8, Pamela Hinzman, former treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 1580, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to embezzling $26,260.68 from the Parkersburg union. She had been charged in January. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

President of Northern Virginia Government Employees Local Charged; Pleads Guilty

NAGE-SEIU logoOn March 1, Kevin Threat, former president of National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local R3-84, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland with theft in an amount greater than $1,000 from the Alexandria, Va.-based union. Eleven days later, on March 12, he pleaded guilty to stealing $15,505. The union is based in Virginia, but Threat is a resident of Maryland, thus explaining the prosecution taking place in the latter. NAGE is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Michigan Transportation Union Local Treasurer Charged; Pleads Guilty

UTU logoOn April 18, Paul Morales, former treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1477, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to willfully failing to properly maintain union records in relation to unauthorized cash withdrawals totaling $22,829.39. He had been charged on February 29. The union is based in Taylor, Mich., in the Detroit area. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Contractor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding NYC Painters Local Benefit Fund

Brooklyn Bridge at nightFrancis Mazzella couldn't quite overcome his old temptation of getting on the take. Nominally the owner of an electrical services contracting firm, he pleaded guilty on February 27 in Brooklyn federal court to defrauding a benefit fund of a Queens, N.Y.-based union, Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), of an unspecified sum. The fraud charges were related to renovation work his company allegedly performed on a  union building. For Mazzella, an ex-cop with the New York Police Department (NYPD), it was a painful reminder of a dozen years earlier, when he was forced off the force in the wake of a separate scandal. In the current case, he faces anywhere from 33 to 41 months in prison.

Seattle Glass Workers Financial Secretary Sentenced for Theft

GMP logoOn February 24, Poutoa Tuiolemotu, former financial secretary of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union Local 50, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to one year of probation and 90 days of home confinement for embezzling funds from the Seattle union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17,250. Tuiolemotu had pleaded guilty in December 2010. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

GM Executive Refutes Chevy Volt / EV Hype

Sam Windgarden photoThe WSJ yesterday reported that auto company executives are skeptical regarding the prospects for plug-in electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt. The skepticism was displayed at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress. Among the skeptics was General Motors' executive director of powertrain-engine engineering, Sam Winegarden (in photo). It seems that not all criticism of the Chevy Volt and cars like it are driven by a right-wing conspiracy to enrich oil companies.

West Virginia Steelworkers Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn February 24, Freda Hensley, former president of United Steelworkers Local 8-14505, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to five years probation with the first six months to be served in home confinement for embezzling funds from the West Logan, W.Va.-based union. She also will have to make $36,489.68 in restitution. Hensley last October pled guilty to embezzling $38,539.68 in union funds following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Puerto Rican Sugar Workers Union President Sentenced

Puerto Rican flagThe sugar workers union that Jose "Chepito" Caraballo-Figueroa ran was an illusion. But the money he stole from it was real. So now is his punishment. On February 23, Caraballo-Figueroa, formerly president of Sindicato Obreros Unidos del Sur, or SOUS, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico to 21 months in prison and one year of supervised release for embezzling an estimated $450,000 in funds from the Salinas, P.R. union. He had been arrested by the FBI and indicted by a grand jury in 2008 following a three-year investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. Caraballo, after a long delay, pleaded guilty in February 2011.

Indiana Carpenters Treasurer Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On March 29, Cynthia Collier, former secretary-treasurer of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2177, was sentenced in Morgan County Superior Circuit Court, State of Indiana, to 60 days home detention and two years probation for theft of funds from the union, formerly based in Scottsburg, Indiana (Scott County). She also made full restitution in the amount of $2,053 at sentencing. Collier pleaded guilty on February 23 and was charged last August 5. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

President of New Mexico Firefighters Local Indicted for Theft

On February 23, William Dempsey, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 294, was indicted in the State of Texas, El Paso County, for theft of property worth more than $1,500 and but less than $20,000. The union is based in Las Cruces, N.M., but because Dempsey resides in Texas, the case is being prosecuted in the latter state. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Maryland County Teachers Union Probed for Missing Funds

NEA logoIf an embezzler returns money to its proper owner, that doesn't erase the fact of the embezzlement. Authorities in Worcester County, Maryland have been operating on that principle since late January, when they initiated a probe of the temporary disappearance of more than $100,000 belonging to the Worcester County Teachers Association (WCTA). Evidence points to a former union treasurer, Denise Tull, as the most likely culprit. While Tull hasn't been charged with any offense, prosecutors believe an allegation of "misappropriated funds" contained in the association's 2011 tax filing will reveal the truth. "We have a potential crime that has gone unreported, at least to law enforcement," said Worcester County State's Attorney Beau Oglesby at the time. "There's going to be a complete and thorough investigation."

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