Union Corruption Update

NY Contractors Indicted for Union Bribery

Top executives of 5 NY construction firms were indicted earlier this month on charges of making illegal payoffs over more than a decade to officials of two union locals.  According to the indictments, since 1991, the execs had made hidden payments to officials of Local 14 and Local 15 of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers.  


Dino Tomassetti, president of Laquila Construction, was described by prosecutors as the lead defendant. The others arrested were John Amicucci, president of DeFoe Corporation; Guerino Cavaliere, president of Acme Skillman Construction Company; Peter Ruttura, vice president of Ruttura & Sons; and Edward Simpson, chief engineer at NAB Construction Corporation.  All five were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and illegal labor payments.

Ex-NJ City Councilman Admits to Union Embezzlement

Daniel F. Kearney, a former Long Beach, NJ, city councilman, will begin a one-year federal prison sentence after the holidays, his lawyer confirmed in early December.  Kearney pled guilty Nov. 22 in U.S. Dist. Court to embezzling nearly $150,000 from Local 79 of the Laborers Intl. Union of N. America while he was secretary-treasurer from 2000 to 2002.

Iowa Ex-Narc Charged with Embezzlement

A federal grand jury in mid-Decmeber accused a former state narcotics officer of embezzling more than $89,000 from the state peace officers' union.  Rodney Alan Fox was indicted on charges that he embezzled $89,433 from the State Police Officer Council, using checks and credit cards for personal expenses. The council represents 600 state police officers, including troopers, park rangers and conservation officers.  Fox is scheduled to appear in federal court in Des Moines Dec. 28. He plans to plead innocent, said his lawyer, F. Montgomery Brown.


Ex-Ofc. Secy. Admits Embezzlement in Ore. Fed. Court

On November 11, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Joy Torrance, former office secretary of Local 1094, Carpenters, pled guilty to embezzling $31,640.02 in union funds. An indictment filed on July 28, 2004, alleged that Torrance created and cashed unauthorized checks to herself and other third parties from the union's checking, savings, and money market accounts. In addition, the indictment alleged that Torrance used the union's credit card without authorization.

Is Banned Teamster still Running Chicago Local?

Bill Hogan Jr. ruled Chicago's 100,000-member Teamsters empire with a sharp tongue and an iron fist.  But he was expelled in 2002 after being accused of undercutting his union by helping a nonunion company where his brother worked.  Stripped of his positions, Hogan was banned from ever associating with Teamsters again.


DOL Sues Plumbers' Union Benefit Trustees Over Calif. Resort

The U. S. Dept. of Labor has sued current and former trustees, the plan administrator, and Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen.  DOL charges that the officials diverted more than $36 million in assets of five employee benefit plans to renovate and operate the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa facilities on Clear Lake in Kelseyville, Calif.


Ex-Finance Director Admits Huge Embezzlement

The former finance director of the benefit plan for the American Fedtn. of TV & Radio Artists is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15 for embezzling $1.36 million from the union fund.  A press release issued last week by AFTRA trustees states Robert Cataldo used "his access to the Funds' financial records, and his unique knowledge of the Funds' internal accounting controls for which he was responsible, to perpetrate and conceal his theft."  The finance chief made "improper entries into the Funds' financial records to make it appear as though the monies that he embezzled were actually used for legitimate Funds' purposes."


Buffalo-Area Union Member Acquitted in Beating

Federal prosecutors failed Nov. 24 in the first of three labor racketeering trials aimed at Laborers Local 91 in Niagara Falls.  A jury acquitted union member Mark LoStracco, 34, of taking part in a 1998 picket line attack that injured a truck driver who had just made a food delivery to the Clarion Hotel in downtown Niagara Falls.


Ex-Mob Enforcer Testifies to Mob Control of NYC Unions

Murderous mob turncoat Frankie "Fapp" Fappiano testified on Nov. 23 that he delivered construction payoffs to Gambino crime family boss Peter Gotti.  He also said that the Gambino crime family's grip on organized labor let him and other mobsters on union payrolls cash in on construction assignments at Trump Tower, the IBM building and the MTA's Lexington Avenue subway. 


Last Sentencing in Case of Mobbed-up NJ Local

Eugene G'Sell, the last of the federally convicted figures associated with Bayonne Local 1588 of the Intl. Longshoremen's Assn., won't be spending any time behind bars.  U.S. Dist. Judge Mary L. Cooper (N.J., G.H.W. Bush) on Nov. 18 sentenced G'Sell to serve a year's probation, pay a $100 special assessment and make restitution to the Local -- either individually or collectively with co-defendants -- of the more than $900,000 that government prosecutors said was embezzled from the union.


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