Union Corruption Update

Monitor Slams NY Union: Carpenters Hammered, Again

Tom Robbins reports that a decade after pledging to rid itself of pervasive corruption benefiting dishonest contractors and officials while disenfranchising members, a court-appointed investigator has found that corruption and contract violations still plague the N.Y. Dist. Council of Carpenters.  "It is my view that there are still substantial -- both in number and significance -- collective-bargaining-agreement violations on carpenter jobs throughout the District Council's jurisdiction," wrote Walter Mack, a former federal prosecutor.  The wrongdoing is facilitated "through intimidation by contractors and union members more loyal to the contractor than to the union."


Frmr. Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty in Wisc. State Court

Denise Crear pled no contest to embezzling more than $264,000 from the North. Wisc. Regional Council of Carpenters on Aug. 16.  Crear entered her plea before Outagamie County Circuit Judge John Des Jardins, who scheduled sentencing for Oct. 6.  Crerar was originally charged with 26 counts of embezzlement for taking money over a three-year period while she was employed at the regional council.  During that time period she wrote about 200 checks to herself and created vendor receipts for the amounts to cover her tracks.  To sign the checks, she would forge signatures or use a signature stamp.  According to Asst. Dist. Attny. Angela Boelter, prosecutors will seek a 10-year prison sentence as well as five years of extended supervision and restitution for Crerar.  [Appleton Post-Crescent, 8/17/04]

DOL Removes Pension Trustees, Collects $10.98 Million

The U. S. Dept. of Labor filed a consent order on Aug. 2, ousting four trustees from the board of the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund and requiring them to pay $10.98 million in restitution and civil penalties in connection with the imprudent management of the fund’s investment in the Diplomat Resort and Country Club in Hollywood, Fla.


Ala. Union Chief Testifies before Grand Jury about Contribution to Ex-Gov.

State UMW chief John Stewart testified before a grand jury on Aug. 9 about a 1999 contribution to the Ala. Dem. Party that went unreported.  The $50,000 contribution was made at around the same time that then-Gov. Don Sigelman was campaigning for a state lottery.  It was not reported by the Dem. Party in 1999, but showed up on the next report filed with the Ala. Secy. of State.  A former partner in the investment firm AFS Equities appeared before the grand jury a week earlier to discuss Democratic Party donations that his firm handled for about a week in 1999.  The money was sent to an out-of-state investment account.


Md Union Employee Sentenced for Embezzlement

U.S. Attny. Kenneth L. Wainstein and Michael Cahir, Dist. Director of the Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards, announced that on July 26, Renee Newman, 33, was sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Royce C. Lamberth (D.C., Reagan) to 6 mos. in the electronic monitoring program and 5 yrs. of supervised probation.  Newman was also ordered to make full restitution to the Natl. Alliance of Postal & Fed. Employees ("NAPFE").  On April 23, Newman pled guilty to 1 count of Embezzlement of Assets of a Labor Organization.  This charge arose from Newman having stolen $29,220.60 from NAPFE from Sept. 2002 through Jan. 2003.


Ex-Ofc. Secy. Charged with Embezzlement in Ore.

On July 28, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for Oregon, Joy Torrance, former ofc. secy. of Local 1094 of the United Bhd. Of Carpenters, was indicted for embezzling approximately $39,881 in union funds.  The charge alleged that she wrote unauthorized pay checks to herself and third parties from the union's checking, savings and money market accounts.  The charge further alleged that Torrance used the union's business credit card without authorization.  The indictment follows an investigation by the Seattle Dist. Ofc.

Alleged Murder Plot amid new Elections for Buffalo Local

According to the Niagara Falls Reporter, the FBI is investigating an alleged murder-for-hire plot by Cheryl Cicero, frmr. secy.-treasurer of Laborers Local 91.  Reportedly, Cicero targeted a supporter of a slate of reform candidates in officer elections held on July 24.  She is the daughter of the deceased frmr. bus. mgr., Michael "Butch" Quarcini, and wife of Joel Cicero, another ex-official of Local 91.  She is the only frmr. official who has not been indicted for extortion and racketeering charges in a campaign of threats and violence aimed at Buffalo-area contractors and other unions.


Corrupt Union Bosses Agree to Resign in Chicago

The in-house prosecutor for the Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer., Robert Luskin, has obtained the resignations of several corrupt union officials in Chicago.  Last March, LIUNA took over Local 1001 after union hearing officer Peter Vaira found that the local "continues to be infiltrated by organized crime."


Two more Indictments Handed Down against FL and NY Bosses

An indictment was unsealed in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the East. Dist. of N.Y. on July 27 charging 2 officials of the Intl. Longshoremen's Assn. -- alleged associates of the Genovese Family of La Cosa Nostra -- with extortion conspiracy aimed at placing Genovese associates as officers in the ILA, and controlling the operation of businesses on the piers in the N.Y., N.J. and south Fla.


Ex-NYC Boss Stole Union Funds to Buy Champagne for Castro

Enex Steele was arraigned in a Manhattan court on July 28 for allegedly embezzling $400,000 from a royalty fund controlled by the Amer. Fedtn. of Musicians.  According to Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau, Steele was director of the union's Sound Recording Special Payments Fund, through which $15-20 million in royalty payments are forwarded every yr. to performers belonging to the AFM.


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