Leonard Bridge II found a variety of ways to rip off his union. But during the next year he’s not likely to find much of a variety in anything. On May 4, Bridge, former business manager for International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 131, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to 12 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $140,000 from the Albuquerque union. He had been indicted in February 2014, and pleaded guilty to one of 20 counts in September following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Prosecutors had alleged that Bridge, now 45, a resident of Albuquerque, during April 2009-August 2011 on 20 separate occasions diverted a combined $140,877.56 for unauthorized purposes. He did this by writing unauthorized checks, making cash withdrawals from the union bank account and debit card, and paying himself excess salary. Bridge acknowledged at his sentencing that when he took office in January 2009 the union had about $106,000 in its general account, but when he resigned in November 2011 the account was down to $2,400.