On September 2, Steven Minella, former president and business agent of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of failing to report to appropriate authorities the commission of extortion by another official of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. local. Minella had been charged in June following a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
On September 2, Danny Rawls, former member of United Auto Workers Local 2297, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to one charge of making a false statement to a Labor Department investigator. Back in March, Rawls, along with Local 2297 Vice President Gregory Hill, had been indicted on nine counts related to aiding and abetting embezzlement in excess of $12,000, uttering forged checks, and conspiracy to commit forgery against the Shreveport-based union. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
The alleged amounts may be modest, but they amount to a twofer all the same. On August 31, Dean Johnson, former president of the Minneapolis-based American Federation of Government Employees Local 899, was charged in Hennepin County Court of Minnesota with theft in the sum of $2,036. That same day Edward Barker, former Local 899 vice president, was charged in the same court with theft in the sum of $1,790. The alleged thefts by Johnson occurred during January 2013-August 2013, while those by Barker occurred during March 2013-July 2013. The charges follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Minneapolis Airport Police.
For five years, Rae Dawn Grillo embezzled union funds. She’s now going to spend the next five years under close supervision. On August 27, Grillo, formerly treasurer of the Charleroi Area Education Association, pleaded guilty in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) to thefts from the union totaling $65,963. She then was sentenced to nine months of electronic home monitoring, five years of probation and 200 hours of community service. She also was ordered to repay residual restitution in the amount of $8,175. Grillo had been charged in February following a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On August 25, Michelle Misso, former bookkeeper of Iron Workers Local 63, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with one count of making a false entry in the financial records of the Broadview, Ill. (suburban Chicago) union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On August 12, Gregory Paradis, former chief steward of United Federation of Special Police and Security Officers (UFSPSO) Local 501, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire in a one-count indictment with embezzling funds in an unspecified amount from the Seabrook, N.H. union, which represents workers at the nuclear power plant in that community. UFSPSO, headquartered in Briarcliff Manor (Westchester County), N.Y., is distinct from another security employees union, the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO). The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Cops normally enforce the law. Randolph Brann and Jacob Wright, both cops, apparently broke it. On September 2, Brann and Wright, veteran officers with the Norfolk, Virginia Police Department, were charged with four counts each of felony embezzlement from their union, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. They were placed on administrative leave and will remain there pending the results of an internal investigation. No court dated yet has been set.
It took more than six years for Richard Wayne Johnson to be found out as an embezzler. And it took more than three years for justice to prevail. What matters in the end is that it did. On September 14, Johnson, former secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to 18 months in prison, plus three years of probation upon release, for stealing almost $275,000 from the Phoenix-based transit workers union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. Johnson had pleaded guilty this June following an investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 7, Mark Durinski, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 294, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine with three counts of making false statements on financial reports of the Limestone, Maine-based local. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 6, Jimmy Bynum, president of American Allied Workers Local 944, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois with one count of embezzling funds of an unspecified sum from the Pembroke Township (Kankakee County), Ill.-based union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.