James E. Jackson, ex-boss of the Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 45 in Hollywood, was sentenced Apr. 5 to 21 months in prison for embezzling union funds. Prosecutors allege that he embezzled over $259,000, but Jackson was also ordered to pay only $217,878 in restitution to IBEW. He pled guilty to using the union’s credit cards for unauthorized purposes from 1994-97. Jackson said he charged $1,200 to IBEW to pay for repair work done on his Mercedes-Benz and spent another $1,207 for a Caribbean cruise. He also had the union pay for auto maintenance and insurance and for his adult daughter’s health insurance. [Hollywood Reporter 4/6/99]
$212,500 Punitive Damages for Violence in Alaska
The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed an order Mar. 26 that Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 1547 in Anchorage pay $212,500 in punitive damages to a nonunion firm for violence on picketing lines in 1986. Local 1547 members protested when the nonunion Alaska Utility Construction, Inc., was awarded several contracts. Union bosses approached AUC about signing a contract, but it refused unless IBEW offered economic concessions. IBEW refused. IBEW pickets then followed the company from one location to another. The picketing had incidents in which pickets physically threatened and assaulted AUC workers, spat at them, sabotaged equipment, and fired shots over worker encampments in remote areas. The Court held that a large punitive award was needed because of the union’s “ongoing acts of intimidation, violence, destruction of property, and disregard for a court’s temporary restraining order.” Further the Court held that “[t]he conduct in this case does not fall near the margins of protected speech. Instead it consisted of unprotected threats, and assaultive and destructive behavior.” [BNA 4/2/99]
Long Island Boss Indicted for $130,000 Racket
Gen. Building Laborers Union Local 66 shop steward, David McKay, was indicted by a federal grand jury Apr. 1 for threatening violence and labor shutdowns, to extort $130,000 of dollars from construction companies and forcing them to pay him personally for a no-show safety coordinator job. The Melville, N.Y. boss was also the chairman of the Huntington Housing Authority and was indicted, with nephew Brian McKay, for stealing $30,000 in federal housing subsidies, as well as money laundering and tax evasion. Both face 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. [N.Y. Times 4/2/99]
Florida Boss Convicted of Racketeering
Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 675 business manager, Joseph Gagne, was convicted Mar. 26 on racketeering charges by a federal jury in Broward County, Fla. But in a bizarre twist, the same jury was deadlocked and came to a no-decision on Local 675 boss Dennis Walton and acquitted associate Roy Savigliano. Federal investigators were attempting to prove a 17-year conspiracy among Walton, Gagne and Savigliano. Prosecutors accused Walton and Gagne of encouraging union “goon squads” to intimidate construction companies into hiring their workers by threatening bodily harm and destroying cranes and other heavy equipment. The three different results indicate appeals and/or retrials are likely. [Sun-Sentinel 3/27/99]
New Jersey Boss Gets Two Years
Nicholas D’Aloisio, ex-president of the Passaic, N.J., police union, was sentenced Mar. 25 to a 24 month prison term for being an accessory to a stabbing. Reputed Genovese crime family associate Stefano Mazzola, an ex-police officer and ex-U.S. Navy officer, received a 150 month prison term after pleading guilty to stabbing and beating a debtor inside a sign shop owned by D’Aloisio. FBI Listening devices planted in the shop recorded Mazzola in Aug. 1996 taunting the debtor and another associate threatening to kill him, take one of his eyes, and beat him with a baseball bat. In an unrelated FBI tape, Mazzola bragged of having pistol-whipped a victim, saying, “I laid him open like a [expletive] cantaloupe.” D’Aloisio, an 11-year police veteran who was suspended without pay after his 1996 indictment, resigned from the force in Oct. After his sentencing, D’Aloisio got a kiss on the cheek from Mazzola. [Record 3/26/99]
Coia Ruling Appealed to Eggleston
In a widely-expected move, the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am.’s internal ruling that cleared union boss Arthur A. Coia of associating with the Mafia has been appealed to LIUNA’s “appellate judge,” W. Neil Eggleston. The problem with Eggleston is his conflicts of interest. One of the long running criticisms of LIUNA’s “internal reform program” is the cozy relationship of Coia and Bill Clinton who controls DOJ. Eggleston has several clients involved in this Administration’s scandals, including Clinton himself. Eggleston was Clinton’s lead attorney for executive privilege matters. Eggleston is also Labor Secretary Alexis H. Herman’s lead attorney for combating Herman’s independent counsel. Herman’s troubles include alleged illegal campaign contributions to the DNC. Also, White House attorneys Cheryl D. Mills and Dimitri Nionakis are Eggleston clients. [Washington Times 3/26/99] For more details on the failure of LIUNA’s “internal reform effort,” please visit www.nlpc.org.
Gotti Pleads Guilty to Racketeering
A day before his criminal trial, reputed Gambino crime family boss, John A. Gotti, pled guilty Apr. 5 to involvement in a racket that involved bribery, extortion and the threat of violence. He faces a 87 months in prison and a $1 million fine. His father, John J. Gotti, led the Gambino family for several years until he was convicted in 1991 and imprisoned for life. In his plea, the younger Gotti admitted to four acts of racketeering including bribing a union boss, which prosecutors identified as a Teamsters Local 445 offical. Reportedly, the bribe was an attempt to win a construction contract worth up to $10 million for an airport in New Windsor, N.Y. [N.Y. Times 4/6/99]
“[T]he Justice Department has no one to blame but itself in this fiasco… The connections between Arthur Coia and organized crime were obvious to the Justice Department in 1994, and they are no less obvious today.”
– Editorial, Providence Journal-Bulletin, April 4, 1999, on the Laborers’ Union’s internal ruling that cleared it’s own boss, Arthur A. Coia, of organized crime ties.