3 Mich. Union Officials Convicted by Fed. Jury

Three employees of the Mich. Reg. Council of Carpenters were found guilty on May 27 of embezzlement by forcing union employees to work on a home owned by 2 of the defendants on union time.  Convicted were union rep. William Barnwell, the union’s exec. admin. secy. Sandra Williamson, and her husband, David.  Sandra was also convicted of lying to fed. investigators.

 

According to prosecutors with the U.S. Attny. for the East. Dist. of Mich., Barnwell ordered at least 12 union agents to work on the Williamsons’ house between Dec. 1997 and April 1998.  They were each paid about $28,000 in salaries and benefits while working on the house.  This as the second trial for Barnwell, whose first ended with a hung jury and mistrial in 2003.  The Williamsons were not tried then because their first lawyer became ill.

 

During his case, Asst. U.S. Attny. Walter Kozar presented evidence from 2 union business agents that they were “volunteered” to work on the Williamson home.  Federal investigators also testified that after challenging some of Sandra Williamson’s answers to their questions, she stopped the interview, but said the agents could come back later.  When they did, she refused to talk to them and informed them that she had found a lawyer.

 

Defense lawyers claimed that the union agents worked on their own time at the Williamsons’ home, and made up for it by working for the union outside of normal business hrs.  Kozar said that his case was not substantially different in the 2nd trial.  But with the actual beneficiaries of the embezzlement before the jury, Kozar speculated, it was easier to see the connection between Barnwell’s misdirection of union resources and the non-union benefit. [Macomb Daily, 5/19/04: Detroit Free Press, 5/28/04]