Two ex-bosses of the N.J. State Policemen’s Benevolent Ass’n, Frank Ginesi and William Saksinsky, were arrested Nov. 16 and charged with defrauding the union of as much as $1 million. Reportedly, the two regularly diverted union dues checks, death benefit insurance premium checks, travel agency checks and checks from a PBA fundraising company into secret accounts. Some of this money was reportedly earmarked to help disabled children. They allegedly spent the money on cars, jewelry, real estate projects, personal investments and gifts for girlfriends.
“This was an audacious, pervasive, long-running fraud,” said Acting U.S. Atty. Robert J. Cleary. “It is perverse that the fraud was committed by longtime former law officers against…the very people they were trusted to represent.”
Saksinsky was also charged with witness tampering. Allegedly, he tried to persuade a cooperating witness who was wearing a recording device to lie when called to testify about checks to the secret accounts. According to FBI affidavit, Saksinsky bemoaned his plight and asked in a flurry of expletives why investigators were treating him as if he were “Gotti,” apparently referring to ex-Gambino crime boss and convicted racketeer John J. Gotti. He threatened to “blow my brains out… That’d be the end, end it all.”
Citing that threat to do violence to himself and citing Saksinsky’s “huge liquid assets,” estimated at $2.54 million, an Asst. U.S. Atty., Ralph J. Marra, Jr., asked Magistrate Judge Joel A. Pisano to set a $500,000 bond for Saksinsky as a guarantee for future court appearances. Pisano, set a $300,000 cash bond for Saksinsky and ordered him to undergo psychiatric tests and to turn over to all his weapons. Pisano released Ginesi on $300,000 bail.
Jerry Dowling, editor of Police Labor News, a monthly newsletter for police labor groups that is based in Huntsville, Tex., told the N.Y. Times that fraud in police unions is relatively rare. He recalled the 1998 conviction of ex-president of N.Y. Transit PBA, Ronald Reale, on charges of taking kickbacks from a law firm retained to represent the union, and the conviction of a San Antonio police union boss, Harold Flammia, earlier this year on similar charges. “I would say that it is my sense that such things happen more in other branches of organized labor,” Mr. Dowling said. “But I would be in denial to say that it never occurs with police unions.” [USAO D.N.J., Media Release 11/16/99, N.Y. Times & APBNews 11/17/99]
Is police union corruption really that rare? Dowling failed to mention many other recent cases of police union corruption that have been detailed in Union Corruption Update. Visit www.nlpc.com/olap/ucu/artindx.htm for police union corruption stories from Cal., Col., Fla., Ill., N.J., Pa., Ohio and R.I.