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.

Millions Spent on Ads Does Little for Chevy Volt Sales

Volt/AliensIt looks like there is plenty of inventory of Chevy Volts available for those aliens that seemed to be so impressed with the car on Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately for General Motors, earthlings do not seem as enamored with President Obama's favorite vehicle. Despite GM spending millions of dollars during the month to advertise the taxpayer subsidized Volt, only 1,023 sold in February.

New Mexico Security Guards Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

Security guardOn December 16, Joseph Ray Gonzalez, Jr., former secretary-treasurer of Guards Independent Local 106, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to two months in prison and two years of supervised released for concealing and withholding financial records of the Socorro-based union related to theft. He also was ordered to pay the outstanding $4,000 of the $13,800 in restitution. Gonzalez pled guilty in September. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Glass Workers Financial Secretary in Indiana Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

Glass workerOn December 14, Rodney Richerson, former financial secretary of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Workers Local 238, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to embezzling $100,195 from the Kokomo union. He then was sentenced to four months incarceration, eight months home detention and two years supervised release. He also will have to pay full restitution plus a $100 special assessment. Richerson had been charged last April. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Local Ex-President in Missouri Pleads Guilty to Fraud

AFGE logoOn December 15, Vicki Guynn, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1612, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to wire fraud in connection with theft from the Clever (near Springfield), Mo.-based union. The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General.

Ohio Plumbers Association Secretary Sentenced for Theft

PlumberOn January 26, Helen Stupka, former office secretary for the Ohio State Plumbers Association, an affiliate of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, was sentenced in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to 11 months of home confinement (suspended) and four years of community control, for embezzling $13,372.91 from the Columbus-based association. She also will have to make full restitution. Stupka had pleaded guilty in December after being charged in July. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer in Kentucky Indicted

On December 13, Amy Pullen, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1106, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky for embezzling $4,876 in funds from the Mayfield, Ky.-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Michigan Utility Workers Financial Secretary Sentenced for Theft

Utility workersOn December 13, Robert Cole, former financial secretary of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 124, was sentenced in Grand Rapids federal court to two years probation, the first six months of which must be spent in home detention, for theft from the Irons, Mich. (Lake County) union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $150 special assessment. He pleaded guilty last August. Cole, 44, had resigned his post at UWUA Local 124, which represents area power company employees, left his post in 2009. Soon after, union officials discovered he had converted $11,605.59 in union funds to his own use either by issuing unauthorized checks to himself or making unauthorized use of the union credit card. Cole also had falsified union financial records to conceal the thefts. The guilty plea and sentence follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Iowa Locomotive Engineers Ex-Local Secretary Sentenced

Locomotive trainOn December 12, Kenneth Schmidt, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Local 656, was sentenced in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa District Court to a suspended five-year prison sentence and given instead three years of probation for theft from the Mason City-based union. He also will have to pay $1,373 in restitution and a $750 fine. He pled guilty in November. The sentence follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New York City AFGE President Arrested for $100K+ in Thefts

AFGE logoUnion check forgery lives in New York City. On December 12, Federck Petro, former president of Local 2094 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with embezzling more than $100,000 in funds from the Manhattan-based local, which represents VA hospital employees. He was arrested three days later on December 15. The actions follow a joint probe by the Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General.

Steelworkers Treasurer in Alabama Pleads Guilty to Theft

Steelworkers logoGraven Townsend had a talent for forging signatures. In the end, he played his hand too often. Townsend, formerly secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 462, pleaded guilty on December 21 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama to embezzling nearly $100,000 in funds from the Prattville, Ala. (near Montgomery) union. The case had been investigated by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. He faces a maximum five-year prison sentence.

NYC-Area Trucking Firm Owners Indicted for Ripping Off Teamsters Local

World Trade Center reconstruction siteWhen contractors shortchange union benefit funds, it often involves help from at least someone up the union hierarchy. Gerardo and Vincent Fusella, Jr., owner-operators of a New Jersey-based trucking company, appear a classic case of paying a union boss to look the other way. On December 22, the two brothers were charged in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court with various crimes, including embezzlement, mail fraud and tax evasion, after being indicted by a grand jury the previous day. The 31-count indictment accuses the pair, among other things, of withholding wages and benefits to members of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 282 and of embezzling from the union's benefit funds. The total take is estimated at more than $1 million. Neither defendant yet has filed a plea.

Chevy Volt Gas Savings: Myths and Reality

There has been much written and said about the operating costs of the Chevy Volt. Proponents and critics have both been a bit deceptive on claims about just how much the Volt can save or cost you by mostly running on an electric charge before switching to gas. Snopes.com gives a fairly accurate picture of the true fuel savings in a recent analysis.

West Virginia Machinists Local Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

On December 9, Stephen Koski, former secretary-treasurer for Lodge 1027 of the International Association of Machinists, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine for embezzling funds from the Clarksburg, W.Va.-based union. He paid full restitution of $1,517.04 at sentencing. Koski had been charged in June and pleaded guilty in August. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UAW Financial Secretary in Illinois Sentenced for Records Fraud

UAW logoOn December 6, William Kiddell, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 592, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three years probation for making false entries in financial records of the Rockford-based union. He also was ordered to pay $7,152.18. Kiddell pled guilty in August. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Rhode Island Plumbers Boss Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Tax Evasion

Plumber at workNew England affiliates of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters looked up to Kenneth Aurecchia as a union man willing to take on any job. They should have looked more closely. On January 24, Aurecchia, who among other things, had been a regional vice president for the international union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island to acts of wire fraud and tax evasion totaling about $125,000 over a four-year period. He had been charged last December 1. Most of the take came from fraudulent claims for travel and other costs related to union business. He faces up to 23 years in prison and a fine of $350,000 at sentencing this April 26.

EXCLUSIVE: GM Dealers Get Chevy Volt Tax Credit for Sales to Gov't

IRS for 8936

I discovered an interesting fact while reviewing the 2011 IRS form 8936 used for the $7500 EV tax credit. While under most circumstances it is the wealthy purchasers of Chevy Volts and other high priced plug-in vehicles that get the taxpayer-funded handout, it appears that General Motors' dealerships that sell the vehicles to government entities are benefiting by being able to claim the credits. These dealers are able to double-dip into the seemingly endless pool of taxpayer funds designated for cronies of the Obama Administration under the guise of green initiatives. Not only do taxpayers pay for Chevy Volts purchased by various government "units," the sellers can claim the credits which were designed to help individuals be able to afford the costly vehicles.

Security Employees President in Virginia Charged; Pleads Guilty

On December 2, Joseph Meizlik, former president of Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America Local 454, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with one count of embezzling $9,122.44 from the Fort Lee, Va.-based union. This past January 6 he pleaded guilty. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Arkansas Steelworkers Secretary Sentenced for Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn December 2, Peggy Bolen, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 898, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to five years probation for embezzling $61,541.28 in funds from the Redfield, Ark. union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 fine. Bolen pleaded guilty in August after being indicted in March. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer in New Mexico Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn December 2, Thomas Chavez, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 12-659, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $16,965.54 from the Questa, N.M.-based union. He had been indicted last April. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

GE Steps Up Support for GM Chevy Volt Folly

Last week, Greencarreports.com reported that crony corporation, General Electric, will be purchasing only Chevy Volts for employee use. The move will help General Motors proclaim that the Volt is a success (and help ensure that GE sells more charging stations) as thousands of orders for the vehicle hit the books, conveniently timed to coincide with the run up to the 2012 presidential election.

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