Union Corruption Update

Four Ex-UTU Officials Sentenced for Racketeering

Byron Boyd and Charles A. Little, both frmr. presidents of the United Transportation Union (UTU), were each sentenced to prison terms on July 9, and ordered to forfeit to the United States a total of $200,000 in racketeering activity proceeds.  U.S. Dist. Judge Sim Lake (S.D. TX, Reagan) sentenced Boyd and Little to each serve a 2 year term of imprisonment, without parole, and ordered each to forfeit to the United States $100,000 in racketeering proceeds. Both men were also fined $10,000 each.

 

Ex-Clerk Charged with Stealing nearly $800K from NY Pension Fund

Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau announced that Indera Vieira was indicted on July 9 for allegedly stealing $789,000 from the benefit fund she previously worked for.  The $6.5 bil. benefit fund is jointly run by Local 1199 of the Serv. Employees Intl. Union and the hospitals for whom their employees work.

 

DOL Sues Ex-Union Trustees for Abandoning Pittsburgh Welfare Plan

On July 8, The U.S. Dept. of Labor sued Local 19 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Wrkrs. and Grain Millers Union and the trustees of the ABC Local No. 12 Employer and Employee Life Benefit Fund in Pittsburgh, Pa., for abandoning the fund.  The Department has also sued a former employee of the plan for unauthorized use of plan assets.  The fund provides death benefits to beneficiaries of members of the former Local 12 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union. Local 19 was charged as a successor fiduciary after its merger with Local 12 in March 2004.

 

Fla. Prosecutors Seek Forfeiture of Racketeering Proceeds

Federal prosecutors estimate that Walter Browne, once head of the Natl. Fedtn. of Public and Private Employees (NFPPE), and his sister made $592,954 as a result of their racketeering.  According to Asst. U.S. Attny. Lawrence LaVecchio, that figure is a "conservative" estimate, which he is asking a fed. ct. judge to declare forfeit.  Browne took in more than $468,000 in so-called "consulting contracts" with employers, in exchange for Browne keeping his union away from them.  His sister, Patricia Devaney, embezzled $116,000 from the union's payroll.  Both were also found guilty on June 2 of padding their union expense accts. [Sun-Sentinel, 7/8/04]

Ex-Secy.-Treasurer Sentenced in Wash. Fed. Court

On July 8, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the West. Dist. of Wash., Linda Stewart, frmr. secy.-treasurer of Graphic Communications Local 182-C (now known as Local 767-M), was sentenced to 5 yrs. supervised probation with 6 mos. to be spent in home detention with electronic monitoring.  Stewart was also ordered to pay $65,005 in restitution.  Stewart pled guilty on Feb. 6, 2004, to a 1 count information charging her with embezzlement.  The conviction follows an investigation by the Seattle Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards and the Dept. of Labor's Ofc.

Kerry Appears With Union Bosses Tainted By Corruption at Jesse Jackson Conference

Peter Flaherty, Pres. of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), accused Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) of "making a mistake" in agreeing to speak at an "International Labor Breakfast" at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference in Chicago on June 29.  The other two speakers at the breakfast are associated with unions having long histories of corruption.  They were John Wilhelm, Pres. of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE), and John Coli, Pres. of Teamsters Joint Council 25 in Chicago.

 

DOL Planning Overdue Audits of Intl. Unions

With the addition of a unit in the Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards (OLMS), labor dept. officials are now prepared to more closely scrutinize intl. unions' compliance with fed. financial accounting laws.  making up for steady cuts in OLMS staff during the Clinton admin.  According to its budget request for FY 2005, OLMS staff fell from 425 in FY 1985 to 242 in FY 2001.  One of the consequences of that decline is that 10 of the nation's largest unions have never been audited by OLMS.

 

Feds Charge 1st Member of Doyle Dynasty in NY

With the June 23 arraignment of Scott Doyle, fed. prosecutors have moved on the first member of a family dynasty that has been accused of running Teamsters Local 456 to its own benefit for decades.  In 2002, the Teamsters Independent Rev. Bd. (IRB) documented a pattern of nepotism and financial misdoing in the Elmsford, N.Y. Local, by the Doyle family, where three generations have exercised considerable influence in a union that has not had a contested election since 1971.  In response to that report, IBT pres. James Hoffa appointed Dan Kane as temp. trustee of the Local.  Since then, Kane has seen the union's office burglarized and the tires of his assistants slashed in the union parking lot.

 

2nd Indictment Against Chic.-Area Union Boss

With a 2nd indictment against Ed Schreier for pension fund embezzlement, local members are beginning to speak out against the head of Machinery Movers, Riggers & Erectors Local 136, affiliated with the Intl. Assn. of Iron Wrkrs.  Misuse of the union's benefit funds -- esp. its health fund -- by its hierarchy has been rampant in recent yrs., acc. to several members.  Tom Campagna, a frmr. member of 136, said that union officials once refused to extend the health coverage of a rigger whose daughter was dying of cancer and desperately needed treatment.  Campagna was the girl's uncle.  On the other hand, union officials readily approved payment for a union official's penis implant.

 

AFL-CIO Takes Over NY Affiliate

The AFL-CIO suspended the pres. of the Long Island Fedtn. of Labor, Jack Caffey, on June 22, along with about 30 other officials.  The takeover was prompted by an audit begun after allegations emerged that one frmr. employee had embezzled $50,000 through a union credit card.  Auditors with Buchbinder Tunick & Co. found "a disturbing pattern of financial improprieties and financial mismanagement of funds" at the Long Island Fedtn. Workforce Dev. Center.  The nonprofit center is supposed to conduct wrkr. training programs.

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