Frmr. Minneapolis Official Sentenced for Embezzlement

Thomas Martin, who confessed last November to misusing union funds to influence elected officials, was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $43,000 in restitution and a $5,000 fine on April 1.  The frmr. business mgr. of Local 15 of the United Assn. of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Pipefitters pled guilty last November to arranging free plumbing work at the home of Minneapolis city councilman Joseph Biernat in exchange for an appointment to the city’s plumbers licensing board.

U.S. Dist. Judge Ann Montgomery (D. MN, Clinton) received a “large volume” of letters on Martin’s behalf, but opted for a heavier sentence after prosecutors charged Martin with hindering the investigation.  In one case, Martin asked that check for plumbing work paid out of union funds done at a friend’s house be backdated. [Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/2/03]


Ex-Penn. President  Sentenced for Embezzlement

On April 1, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Albert Dishong, frmr. president of Steelworkers Local 2635, was sentenced to five months imprisonment, five months monitored home detention, and three years probation. He was ordered to make restitution to the union in the amount of $30,509.89 plus interest in monthly payments of not less than $847.00 plus interest. He had pled guilty on January 10, 2003 to one count of embezzling union funds. The charges had been brought following an investigation by the Pittsburgh branch of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS 4/9/03]


Ex-Mass. Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement

On March 28, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office issued a criminal complaint against Susan Bertram, former treasurer of National Association of Government Employees Local 01-195, charging her with one count of larceny over $250.  After becoming the Local’s treasurer in 1995, Bertram allegedly embezzled over $21,000 from the local by withdrawing cash, writing checks and money orders to herself, and making wire transfers to her credit accounts from union funds. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Boston branch of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS 4/1/03, Mass. AG 3/28/03]


Frmr. Fla. President Charged with Embezzlement

On March 20, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Anibal Roldan, frmr. president of Bakery, Tobacco and Grain Workers Local 361, was charged in a one-count information with embezzling $14,684.28 in union funds. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Atlanta branch of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS 4/9/03]


Ex-ND Union Boss Sentenced for Embezzlement

On March 28, in the U.S. Dist. Court for the Dist. of North Dakota, Gary Halvorson, former financial secretary and business manager of Local 3 of the Intl. Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, pled guilty to one count of embezzling $9,975 in union funds. After acceptance of his plea, he was sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of community service and was ordered to make full restitution of $9,975. He had been indicted on February 11, 2003 following an investigation by the Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS 4/9/03]


Frmr. Des Moines Office Secy. Confesses to Role in $100K Embezzlement Scheme

On March 27, Joleen Coughlon pled guilty to embezzlement and falsification of records, as part of a case in which over $100,000 was stolen from a Des Moines union.  Fred Risius, frmr. president of Local 177 of the Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer., has already pled guilty to embezzlement.  Coughlon, the office secy., stole $6,445 from the union, and made personal purchases from the union’s Bldg. Maintenance Fund.  She is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in the case. [OLMS 4/9/03]


Federal Judge Upholds Teamster Trusteeship of Northwest Attendants Union

Late in March, U.S. Dist. Judge Victoria A. Roberts (D. East. MI, Clinton) upheld the takeover of the local union representing flight attendants at Northwest Airlines by its parent, the Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters.  In approving the takeover, Judge Roberts rejected the arguments of the ousted leadership that the IBT takeover was improper.  The IBT took over the local union last July, claiming that the local leadership was not aggressively opposing an organizing effort to create an independent union, the Professional Flight Attendants Assn. [Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/3/03]