A former showbiz-union boss was indicted on fraud charges on Feb. 14 for allegedly trying to sell posh real estate bought with his members’ dues to his brother and his brother’s girlfriend at sweetheart prices, reports the New York Post. The charges against Vincent Callaghan, the booted business agent of Local 798 of the Intl. Alliance of Stage & Theatrical Employees, which represents makeup artists, comes after a series of stories in The Post exposed his alleged scams.
Callaghan is alleged to have converted the union’s office building into four condos. According to the complaint filed by Manhattan U.S. Attorney David Kelley, Callaghan sold two of the units – one for $100,000, the other for $150,000 – to a real-estate firm connected to his brother Richard’s girlfriend, Maureen McGuckin. The sale at insider prices had not been approved by the union’s board of directors. The sale was stopped after a union official caught wind of the alleged nepotism and cronyism, the indictment said.
“There was no discussion of selling condominium apartments in the building to the relative and/or girlfriend,” said Joy Mitchell, a special agent with the U.S. Labor Department involved in the probe. “The executive board never discussed fair-market value for the sale of any condominium apartments in the building.” The real-estate arm of Local 798 – also headed by Vincent Callaghan – had purchased the building in 1997 for $650,000. It is now believed to be worth more than $1 million. Callaghan faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. [New York Post, 2/15/05]