A member of Local 91 of the laborers Intl Union of N. Amer. has admitted that he lied to a federal grand jury looking into charges of extortion and racketeering in 2001, reports David Staba of the Niagara Falls Reporter. Robert Alecks pled guilty to one count of perjury in a Buffalo federal court on Feb. 10, giving prosecutors their 5th conviction in the case, with nine members and former officers of the Niagara Falls-based union facing trial in the fall.
On March 6, 2001, Alecks — who is also known as Bodan Aleksiejuk and Robert Aleksiejuk, according to court records — said he didn’t know of any harassment by Local 91 members of non-union workers employed by a company called Sansla on an asbestos-abatement project at the Niagara Falls Drinking Water Treatment Plant in 1997. Alecks also said “no” when asked if he knew of any non-union workers being followed home after work by Local 91 members, or if he knew anything about a lock being placed on a gate at the site to prevent Sansla workers from performing their duties.
“In truth and in fact, and as the defendant there and then well knew, the defendant (along with Andrew Shomers and another Local 91 employee whose identity is known to the parties) had personally followed Sansla employees on at least one occasion, and had personally placed a lock over the gate at the NFDWTP job site on at least one occasion, with both actions occurring for the sake of intimidating the non-union Sansla employees,” the plea agreement reads. In 2002, Alecks admitted to law-enforcement officials that he lied to the grand jury “because he was afraid of retaliation which may be committed upon him by Local 91 members,” according to the plea agreement. He wasn’t formally charged until shortly before striking the deal with prosecutors.
Alecks is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26 by U.S. Dist. Judge Richard Arcara (W.D.N.Y., Reagan). The charge carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison. The agreement, however, recommends that he receive a sentence of six to 12 months, followed by two to three years of supervised release.
Shomers, former union president Mark Congi, ex-vice president Salvatore Bertino and six others are scheduled for trial in September. [Niagara Falls Reporter, 2/15/05]