Helen Greene, the No. 2 official in the Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees’ Dist. Council 37 in N.Y.C., was indicted Apr. 25 on grand larceny charges, including one alleging that she charged $794 on her union credit card to pay for the rehearsal dinner for her son’s wedding. Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau said Greene had claimed that she spent the $794 on a union member retirement dinner. She pled not guilty before N.Y. Justice Arlene D. Goldberg and faces up to seven years in prison.
The indictment, one of several issued against union bosses Apr. 26, reportedly stunned many in DC37 because Greene appeared to be positioning herself to run for DC37’s top post. Until the indictment, Greene appeared to be the sole top DC37 boss who had emerged unscathed from the DC37 scandals that came to light in 1998 and involved convictions of 39 DC37 bosses and vendors on embezzlement, vote fraud, and related charges. While other DC37 bosses resigned or were ousted, Greene’s career advanced. While president of DC37’s Local 768, she was elected an international vice president on the Executive Board of AFSCME, DC37’s parent union.
Morgenthau said Greene had embezzled about $8,700 from Jan. 1995 to Dec. 1998 by using union credit cards for personal expenses, including clothing, electronics and a down payment on a car lease. He acknowledged that Greene had returned than $5,000 after KMPG auditors hired by DC37 found that she misused the credit cards.
Additionally, Morgenthau announced the indictment of Peter Carosella, ex-treasurer of AFSCME Local 299. Carosella was charged with embezzling almost $80,000 by submitting 429 fake restaurant receipts. Morgenthau said the fraud was easy to discover because Carosella bought a restaurant receipt book from a stationer and then submitted consecutively numbered receipts. His lawyer, Matthew Mari, said Carosella was not guilty, asserting that Local 299’s ex-president, Gary Tenenbaum, had duped and victimized Carosella. Tenenbaum was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding the union. Carosella faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Also, Morgenthau also said Laura Greco, ex-treasurer of AFSCME Local 1501, had been indicted. Greco was charged with stealing more than $8,500 in 1997. The indictment accused her of issuing local checks to herself and using a union credit card for payment of her E-ZPass bill, sporting goods and clothes. Greco also pled not guilty and faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Morgenthau’s office said the DC37 probe is winding down. Over half of the bosses who were on DC37’s 28-person board in 1998 have been convicted of crimes.
Separately, Morgenthau said Joseph Alfano of AFSCME Local 372 was sentenced last week to 6 months in jail for bribing an AFSCME Local 1549 boss. Alfano sought to ensure that Local 1549 continued to hold conferences at the Friar Tuck Inn in Catskill, N.Y. The inn’s owner, Richard Cardi, already pled guilty to bribery and is serving a 2 to 6 year prison term. [N.Y. Times, Newsday, Daily News 4/26/01]