Union Corruption Update

Transportation Union Political Operative in Nebraska Indicted

United Transportation Union logoOn November 19, Ray Lineweber, former legislative director for the United Transportation Union Nebraska State Legislative Board, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska on one count of embezzling $102,907 in funds from the Omaha-based union and 14 counts of concealing the thefts through false record-keeping. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Postal Workers President in SE Virginia Indicted for Embezzlement

Postal Workers logo On November 7, Eric Barnett, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 171, was indicted in the Circuit Court for the City of Portsmouth on one count of embezzling funds of $200 or more from the Portsmouth, Va. union. The indictment follows a joint probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Portsmouth Police Department.

Rhode Island Public-Sector Unions Lock Horns with State Treasurer over Pensions

Gina RaimondoAmong unions, the term "pension reform" is a red flag. In Rhode Island, labor officials are taking their opposition to a higher level. Early this month, a prominent researcher hired by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Ted Siedle, filed a request with the Securities & Exchange Commission requesting an investigation of Rhode Island State Treasurer Gina Raimondo (in photo). Back in mid-October Siedle had released a report accusing her and her various associates in the financial industry of siphoning benefits. Not long after, Rhode Island State Senator and Laborers union official Frank Ciccone filed a similar request with the SEC. Yet in November he resigned from his union posts.

Obamacare Pork to UAW Rolled Out Without a Glitch

Obama UAWWhile the Obama Administration is still pumping resources and taxpayer money into the implementation of Obamacare, the initial disbursement of pork included in the bill was successfully doled out almost a full two years ago. And the main recipient of taxpayer largess was, once again, the UAW.

The Obamacare pork came in the form of a program called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program or ERRP. $5 billion of taxpayer money was allocated to help pay for healthcare costs to retirees between the age of 55 and 65. Number one on the union-dominated list of recipients was the UAW, which received $387.2 million for its VEBA fund, which was set up to pay UAW retiree health care costs. This amount was still not good enough for the UAW as they penned a letter to Congress in February of 2012 requesting an increase in ERRP funding to $10 billion.

GM Spends $1.3 Billion to “Create or Retain” 1,000 Jobs

Just days after the US government announced their exit from General Motors, the company announced a move that sounds like it could have come directly out of the Obama Administration playbook. GM is boasting about "creating or retaining" roughly a thousand jobs at the cost of approximately $1.3 million per job in a move that could only be viewed as a positive from a political point of view.

Western Pennsylvania Metal Workers Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

Metal workerOn November 21, Duane Rill, secretary-treasurer for Berry Metal Employees Association, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to embezzlement of funds during March 2007-November 2009 in the amount of $13,496 from the Cranberry Township, Pa.-based independent union. He had been indicted this May. The indictment and guilty plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Postal Workers Local President in NYC Sentenced for Theft

APWU logoOn November 14, Neil Cardoso, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1241, was sentenced in the New York State Court for New York County to one to three years in prison for theft from the Long Island City (Queens), N.Y. union. He also was ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution. Cardoso had been indicted and arrested in February 2012 for grand larceny in connection with his unauthorized use of the union ATM for withdrawals totaling about $75,000; he pleaded guilty this October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Twin Cities-Area Postal Workers Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft

APWU logoOn November 12, David Westgard, former treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 65, pleaded guilty in Dakota County, Minnesota District Court, to one count of theft in an amount of more than $5,000 from the Mendota Heights, Minn.-based union. He had been charged in November 2012. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Virgin Islands Police Union Boss Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

Virgin IslandsDonald Liburd was a cop and a union president. But that didn't make him immune to becoming a criminal as well. On November 12, Liburd, who had been president of the St. Thomas-St. John Police Benevolent Association (PBA) and a detective on the local police force, pleaded guilty in Virgin Islands Superior Court to embezzling $65,073 in union funds. He then was sentenced to four years in prison, of which three and a half years would be suspended, plus three and a half years of probation upon release. "This is a tragic circumstance when an officer sworn to uphold the law violates the law," said Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston. Liburd had been arrested this past March following a lengthy investigation. He had resigned his duties as PBA president in the summer of 2011.

GM's Balance Sheet Not as Healthy as it Looks

GM UAW logosOne of the major architects of the General Motors bankruptcy process, Harry Wilson, recently gave a very optimistic outlook for GM future share price. Mr. Wilson was a member of President Obama's Auto Task Force, and was an instrumental player in seeing that UAW interests were put ahead of other creditors, like old GM bondholders.

Automotive News now reports that Mr. Wilson feels that GM may be a target for activists because of their "huge" cash hoard. According to the piece:

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