Union Corruption Update

S. Fla. Union Chief Convicted of Racketeering

Broward County union boss Walter Browne and his sister, Patricia Devaney, were convicted on June 2 of running the Natl. Fdtn. of Public & Private Employees (NFPPE) as an organized crime enterprise.  The 3rd time proved to be the charm for fed. prosecutors.  In 1996, Browne pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mail tampering to allegedly rig a 1988 union vote, and accepted a brief suspension from the union.  In 1993, Browne was acquitted by a judge of federal mail fraud charges in Ft. Lauderdale.

S. Fla. Union Boss "Bled the Union"

"[Walter Browne] lived, breathed and bled the union." -- Defense lawyer Theresa Van Vliet

"The only thing I agree with is he bled the union.  He bled it dry." -- Asst. U.S. Attny. Lawrence LaVecchio. [Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 6/2/04]


3 Mich. Union Officials Convicted by Fed. Jury

Three employees of the Mich. Reg. Council of Carpenters were found guilty on May 27 of embezzlement by forcing union employees to work on a home owned by 2 of the defendants on union time.  Convicted were union rep. William Barnwell, the union's exec. admin. secy. Sandra Williamson, and her husband, David.  Sandra was also convicted of lying to fed. investigators.


Laborers Election Troubles in Las Vegas

Excerpts from op-ed column by John L. Smith, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 26, 2004


Today's topic is the importance of free and fair elections.  Not in war-torn Iraq or some Third World backwater, but inside the doors of Las Vegas Local 872 of Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA.)


Indicted Ill. Union Boss Re-Elected

Despite facing indictment for labor racketeering with union pensions, Ed Schreier was overwhelmingly re-elected on June 5 as president of the local union whose pension fund he's accused of misusing.  The union, Local 136 of the Machinery Movers, Riggers & Erectors union, is affiliated with the Intl. Assn. of Iron Wrkrs.  Schreier was indicted early this yr. of accepting a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from an administrative services company in exchange for steering a contract paid by the Local's pension fund to that company.


Ex-Bookkeeper Indicted for Embezzlement in Colo. Fed. Ct.

On May 17, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Colo., Barbara Ann Hayes, frmr. bookkeeper and ofc. secy. for United Food & Commercial Wrkrs. Local 990, was indicted on 35 counts of embezzling $27,248.82 in union funds.  The charges follow an investigation by the Denver Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 6/1/04]


Fallout Continues from Resignation of Teamsters' Ethics Watchdog

In a letter written a week before his April 28 resignation, frmr. internal ethics officer Edwin Stier identified Carlow Scalf, Teamster chief James Hoffa's top asst., as the man responsible for interfering with Stier's investigation of links between organized crime and Teamster officials in Chicago.  One of Stier's investigators, Jim Kossler, said that the interference started over a yr. ago, when union officials in the union's Wash. D.C. HQ held up paychecks for Stier and his staff.


Case against NY's Top Teamster Boss in Hoffa's Court

The Teamsters Independent Rev. Bd. (IRB) has accused the top Teamster boss in N.Y. of using union employees for personal purposes, refusing to represent wrkrs. in arbitration cases, and forcing union employees to associate with organized crime.  The IRB charges against Anthony Rumore are now pending with Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters pres. James Hoffa, who can punish Rumore himself, or punt the case back to the IRB.


Md. Union Shoved Payroll Taxes to own Organizers

The IRS recently found that the Md. State Tchrs. Assn. (MSTA) avoided paying payroll taxes and denied their organizers employment benefits.  In a Feb. 23rd letter to the MSTA, IRS officials said that in 2002 the union wrongly classified its 8 organizers as independent contractors.  By doing so, the union staffers responsible for recruiting new members were forced to pay self-employment taxes, and the union avoided paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes. 


Las Vegas Officials & Intl. Trade Corruption Charges

Two yrs. after the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees took over its Las Vegas affiliate, officials in the union's NYC HQ continue to defend their takeover as necessary to repair a "complete breakdown of the democratic processes of the local."  Many local members, however, claim that the Intl. fraudulently seized the local union in 2002, and has failed to represent the financial interests of local stage employees.  According to an attny. representing some of those members, the U.S. Dept. of Labor is examining the Intl. takeover of Local 720. A DOL spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny whether such an investigation is occurring.


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