Ex-Intl. President Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

Charles Little, frmr. Intl. President of the United Transportation Union (UTU), pled guilty on Jan. 23 to labor racketeering conspiracy.  During his rearraignment before U. S. Dist. Judge Sim Lake (S.D. TX, Reagan), Little admitted to using his position as UTU president to solicit and collect cash payments and other things of value, and direct other union officials to do the same, from attorneys doing business with the union beginning with his campaign for president in 1994, ending with his retirement from the union in Feb. 2001.


According to the Sept. 12, 2003 indictment, the 4 officials devised a scheme to defraud the UTU membership by soliciting over $477,000 in cash from lawyers in Houston and around the U.S. performing services for union members as designated legal counsel.  Under the Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) program, about 50 lawyers specialize in representing union rail employees whose job injuries Read More ➡

Ex- DC Teacher Union Boss Gets 9 Years for Massive Embezzlement

Rejecting her “explanation” of a bipolar disorder, U.S. Dist. Judge Richard J. Leon (D.C., G.W. Bush) sentenced Barbara Bullock to 9 yrs. in prison, and ordered her to pay $4.6 million in restitution to the Wash. Tchrs. Union (WTU).  In pleading for leniency on Jan. 29, Bullock and her lawyer offered the mental disorder, not as a justification, but as an explanation of why she used millions in union funds to pay for her shopping trips to Neiman Marcus, Saks and Tiffany’s from 1995 to late 2002. 


Judge Leon shot back that only her age — 65 — kept him from trying to impose a sentence much longer than the maximum 10 yrs. she could have gotten for pleading guilty.  “This is a tragedy of self-destruction, a tragedy of which you were the architect,” he told the frmr. WTU president from the bench.  “You so Read More ➡

Former Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Falsification

On January 23, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the West. Dist. of NY, Nancy E. Childs, frmr. treasurer of Local 151-G of the United Steel Wrkrs., pled guilty to falsifying union records.  Between May 1996 and May 2000, Childs falsified union records to cover up an embezzlement of $9,614 in union funds.  She made full restitution to the union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Buffalo District Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 1/29/04]


Ex-Bookkeeper Confesses to Embezzlement in Calif. Fed. Court

On Jan. 21, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Sou. Dist. of Calif., Julie Palmi, frmr. bookkeeper for Local 1116 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), pled guilty to 1 count of embezzling approximately $53,570 in union funds.  An information charging Palmi with embezzlement had been filed on October 16, 2003, following an investigation Read More ➡

ILA Bosses Promise Self-Reform

Hoping to forestall a rumored federal racketeering lawsuit, Intl. Longshoremen’s Assn. (ILA) president John Bowers announced the appt. of Michael Armstrong as the ILA’s “Independent Ethical Practices Counsel” earlier this month.  The ILA also released a 20 page code of ethics that prohibits ILA officials from soliciting bribes and knowingly associating with organized crime figures.


Federal prosecutors are reportedly preparing to file a nationwide lawsuit against the ILA accusing the union as a whole of racketeering and in need of fed. oversight, similar to what the Teamsters union has been under since 1989.  In the past 12 months, a fed. ct. has taken over Bayonne, NJ, Local 1588, which ignored a 1992 agreement to rid the union of mob influence; and an ILA vice president in Brooklyn admitted his role in maintaining the Gambino crime family’s interests in the union.


Bowers claimed that Armstrong, who investigated Read More ➡

Ex-US Attny Goes from Prosecuting NYC Police Unions to Protecting them

Frmr. U.S. Attny. Mary Jo White is now defending the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Assn. against charges that its hierarchy tried to cover up for a drunken officer convicted of vehicular manslaughter.  As U.S. Attny. for the Sou. Dist. of NY, White won the conviction of two lawyers and a transit police union boss in 1998 for a racketeering conspiracy.  The lawyers paid more than $400,000 in bribes in return for more than $2 million paid to their firm, which represented the transit and other NYC unions.  All three men convicted also worked for the PBA.


Now in private practice, White is representing the PBA, which is accused of “hinder[ing] the investigation and prosecution” of Joseph Gray.  In Aug. 2001, Gray spent all day drinking at the Sunset Park topless bar, then get behind the wheel of a van and plowed into a pregnant Maria Herrara, Read More ➡

NY Crime Boss Sentenced for Extortion of Cash for Labor Peace

Acting Lucchese crime family boss Steven Crea was sentenced on Jan. 8 to 34 mos. in fed. prison for extorting payments from Scalamandre Construction Co. in exchange for assurances of labor peace.  He was sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Kimba Wood (S.D. NY, Reagan).


From 1994 until 2001, brothers Guisseppe “Joseph” and Fortunato “Fred” Scalamandre paid the Lucchese crime family $40,000 a year.  The Luccheses then paid bosses and employees of Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer. Local 66, Blasters, Miners & Drill Ruunners Union Local 29 and Intl. Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftwrkrs. Local 1 to avoid contributing to union benefit funds and paying union dues on behalf of Scalamandre employees.  In 2001, the brothers pled guilty to reaping $5 million in illegal income from the scheme.  Scheduled to begin his fed. sentence on Mar. 11, Crea still faces bid-rigging and labor racketeering Read More ➡

Racketeering Trial to Proceed against Buffalo Bosses

On Jan. 16, U.S. Dist. Judge Richard Arcara (W.D. NY, Reagan) rejected an attempt by lawyers for 14 Buffalo union bosses and associates to throw out their racketeering indictment.  Judge Arcara ordered prosecutors and defense lawyers to appear before him on Jan. 20 to set a trial date.  The 14 associates of Local 91 of the Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer. (LIUNA) were charged in May 2002 with a series of threats, vandalism, assaults and bombings directed at non-union contractors and their employees. 


Among those indicted were Local 91 president Mark Congi, vice president Salvatore Bertino, and bus. mgr. Michael “Butch” Quarcini.  All the officers indicted have been removed from their positions in the local union.  In arguing that the racketeering charges should be dismissed, defense lawyers turned to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Scheidler v. Natl. Org. of Women (NOW).Read More ➡

Ex-Indiana Treasurer Sentenced for Falsification

On January 8, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the North. Dist. of Indiana, Sandra Briggs, frmr. treasurer of the Natl. Assn. of  Letter Carriers Branch 378, was sentenced to 24 months probation, a $1000 fine, and a special assessment of $25 for creating false records.  Additionally, Briggs was ordered to pay $58.76 in restitution.  The sentence follows an investigation by the Chicago District Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 1/14/04]


Ex-President Sentenced for Embezzlement in Montana Fed. Court

On Dec. 30, 2003, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Montana, Michael LaForge, frmr. president of the Natl. Fedtn. of Fed. Employees Local 224, was sentenced to six months in a pre-release center and four years probation for embezzlement/theft of government property totaling $14,622, fraud, and false statements.  He was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $15,647.67 and to pay a fine Read More ➡

Fla. Democrats Ask Mercy for Convicted Jacksonville Boss

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) and state Sen. Tony Hill (D) asked a judge on Dec. 19 to be merciful to George Spencer, president of Local 1408 of the Intl. Longshoremen’s Assn.  Spencer pled no contest in Oct. to witness-tampering to protect a local member later convicted of rape.  Elected president of the Local last Dec. with the witness-tampering charge pending, Spencer agreed to resign his position effective Jan. 31.   


Both Brown and Hill are Jacksonville Democrats who have benefited from union backing.  “George is a religious man who works hard to help others,” Brown wrote in a letter to circuit judge Michael Weatherby.  “I am confident that Mr. Spencer can continue to be an asset to this community.”  Speaking in court at Spencer’s sentencing hearing, Hill said he has known Spencer more than 25 years and said “he has always been a Read More ➡

The Fat Cats on the Waterfront — Excerpts from NY Daily News, Jan. 3, 2003, by Douglas Feiden

[Intl. Longshoremen’s Assn. president] John Bowers…collects $390,825 a year on the international’s payroll, and many members think that’s his total compensation.  It’s not.  The 79-year-old Bowers pulls down $160,296 more as head of the union’s Atlantic Coast District. Grand tally: $551,121. His pay leaped 10% from $502,957 in 2001.


Not far behind are at least five officials who make more than $400,000, and a dozen who top $300,000, according to a Daily News review of U.S. Department of Labor filings for 2002, the most recently available year…


But even as dues-paying rolls decline and an insurgent movement gains steam, the wages of union honchos skyrocket.  With just 59,000 members, the ILA slathers at least 25 of its top brass with more than $225,000 – which is what John Sweeney gets as president of the 13 million-member AFL-CIO… Among union czars raking in the big bucks Read More ➡