NY Teacher Aide Charged with Grand Larceny

The union boss representing a group of Port Washington, NY, teachers’ aides stole more than $45,000 from the organization’s bank accounts, Nassau County authorities said on Jan. 5.  Angela Prudente, 51, co-president of the Port Washington Paraprofessional Association, was charged with grand larceny for allegedly using her union’s ATM card as her personal charge card.


From April 2001 to June 2004, Prudente made unauthorized cash withdrawals and debit card purchases with her union banking card totaling $45,163.70, prosecutors said.  Prudente, a teacher’s assistant for the Port Washington School District, served as her union’s co-president for eight years and oversaw its financial records for the last three years.


Asst. Nassau Dist. Attny. Peter Mancuso said the Port Washington woman used her union debit card to go on shopping sprees at Wal-Mart, The Wiz, and TJ Maxx, where she bought clothes and other goods.  Read More ➡

Landmark Sues Fla., N.J. Unions for Tax Violations

On Jan. 12, the Landmark Legal Foundation filed complaints with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) asking the Agency to investigate the refusal of two state affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA) – the Florida Education Association (FEA) and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) – to release their annual federal income tax returns for years 2000, 2001 and 2002. Landmark has also asked the IRS to impose civil fines on the unions for withholding this information in violation of the Internal Revenue Code.


Mark R. Levin, Landmark’s president, said: “Landmark has initiated a nationwide effort to examine the political activities of the NEA and each of its state affiliates to determine if these unions are using tens of millions of dollars of their members’ tax-exempt funds for improper political purposes. Teachers’ unions, like all other unions, are required by law to make their federal tax returns available to Read More ➡

Takeover of NYC Local Looms amid Financial Charges

Officials of the country’s biggest behind-the-scenes show business union are moving to take over a New York local amid corruption allegations, the Local’s chief said on Jan. 11.  Investigators from the office of Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau are looking into charges that business agent Vincent Callaghan of IATSE Local 798 tried to loot his members by selling most of the union’s headquarters building to his brother at a “sweetheart” price.  


Under the takeover plan, the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees would assume control of the local’s day-to-day business, including health and pension plans.  IATSE officials plan a hearing on the takeover on Jan. 21, said Sharon Ilson-Burke, Local 798’s president.  Ilson-Burke said the hearing is “just a formality,” and that a takeover is a foregone conclusion. [New York Post, 1/12/05]Read More ➡

Ex-NJ Union Boss Pleads Guilty to Stealing over $1m

A former Jersey City Planning Board member and local union official pled guilty on Jan. 7 to conspiring to embezzle more than $1 million from the union to support his luxurious lifestyle that included a Manhattan apartment, a boat and a Martha’s Vineyard condo.


Carmelo “Joe” Sita was arrested on Dec. 13, 2001 and charged in a 59-count indictment with ripping off the Hudson County District Council of the Laborers Intl. Union of N. America, officials at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark said.  Sita served as the union’s executive manager of benefit funds, business manager and secretary-treasurer.


During questioning by U.S. Dist. Court Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, Sita admitted embezzling $1,062,787 from the dist. council between 1995 and 1999.  He admitted having checks issued to himself from 8 separate union funds, including those which paid union members’ medical coverage, retirement benefits and vacation pay, Read More ➡

Feds Acting on Report of Teamster Corruption in Chicago

The FBI is investigating whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were siphoned from a Teamsters benefit plan that provides dental care to Chicago-area undertakers and valets, report Todd Lightly and Stephen Franklin of the Chicago Tribune.  The criminal investigation is the first indication that law enforcement authorities are acting on an internal Teamsters union report alleging that money may have been diverted from Local 727’s dental plan from 1993 to early 2000.  The 303-page report was prepared by investigators under the supervision of former internal ethics watchdog Edwin Stier, who resigned last April charging that Teamsters officials in Washington, DC, were stifling his investigation.


The investigators charged that 30 percent of all the money companies paid to provide dental and vision care for their unionized workers actually went for “grossly excessive” administrative costs and fees.  The report also raised concerns about payments from Read More ➡

Top Hoffa Assistant Suspended

The Teamsters’ court-appointed Independent Review Board (IRB) announced on Jan. 12 that a top assistant to the Teamsters president, James P. Hoffa, will be suspended for 60 days and has repaid $69,500 after IRB investigators accused him of embezzlement.  Carlow Scalf, who is Hoffa’s chief of staff, signed a settlement with the oversight board after its investigators found that he was improperly taking a housing allowance.


When the IBT’s internal ethics watchdog, Edwin Stier, resigned last April, he accused Scalf of working behind the scenes to squelch Stier’s investigation of mob influence over the union’s Chicago affiliates.  The IRB was formed in 1989 after fed. prosecutors filed a nationwide racketeering lawsuit against the IBT.  Under the supervision of U.S. Dist. Judge Loretta Preska (S.D.N.Y., G.H.W. Bush), the IRB has wide powers to remove corrupt officials.


Under Teamsters regulations, Scalf, who was living in Michigan before Read More ➡

Feds Allege Continued Wrongdoing by Indicted HI Union Bosses

Deposed labor leader Tony Rutledge Sr. and his son Aaron, facing trial on federal fraud and tax evasion charges, must post an additional $500,000 bail, wear electronic devices and have their movements tracked by satellite, a U.S. magistrate ruled yesterday.  The new restrictions were imposed in the wake of additional federal charges filed against the Rutledges this month, including allegations of financial abuse at Unity House Inc., the labor organization where they worked until IRS agents seized it Dec. 14.


Federal Magistrate Leslie Kobayashi also ruled that the Rutledges cannot leave the island of Oahu or go anywhere near the airport or Unity House’s offices on Ala Wai Boulevard in Waikiki.  Special U.S. Attorney Ted Groves, lead prosecutor in the case, said in court that a court-appointed receiver now running Unity House has discovered evidence of “other financial abuses at Unity House” and questioned whether the 51-year-old Read More ➡

Ex-Ofc. Mgr. Admits Embezzlement in Iowa Fed. Court

The former office manager for a Des Moines-area bricklayers union pleaded guilty in federal court on Dec. 22 of embezzling more than $209,000 over several years.  Amanda Kemmer, 38, admitted that she altered pay stubs to give herself nearly $18,000 in unauthorized salary and $2,576 in unearned pension contributions between January 1997 and April 2004.  Kemmer said she also pocketed $14,217 in cash from union coffers, and she used a rubber stamp to write herself $174,714 in improper checks.


Gary Crees, head of Bricklayers Local 3, said Kemmer initially downplayed minor discrepancies in union accounts but confessed to everything in April when Crees mentioned that an auditor was visiting the union next door.  Authorities did not disclose a motive for the embezzlement.  In court, Kemmer said she suffers from “severe anxiety and depression” and takes four drugs to treat those conditions.


Kemmer’s guilty plea Read More ➡

Ex-W.Va. Boss Sentenced

On December 20, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, Michael J. Volek, former treasurer and president of Local 2441 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), was sentenced for bank fraud.  He was sentenced to four months in a minimum security facility and four months in home detention, enrollment in a supervised release program for five years, full payment of restitution in the amount of $14,492.36, and a special assessment of $100.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the Pittsburgh District Office of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 12/27/04]Read More ➡

Former President Charged in Mo. Fed. Court

On December 16, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Donald L. Rudd, former president of Local 50, Service Employees International Union, was arrested and charged with misappropriation of approximately $18,083 in union funds. The arrest and charge follow an investigation by the St. Louis District Office of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 12/27/04]


Ex-Nursing Union Official Sentenced in DC Fed. Court

On December 15, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Renee Hallman, former project specialist for the District of Columbia Nurses Association, was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,404.51.  On October 1, Hallman pled guilty to embezzling $9,572 in union funds following an investigation by the Washington District Office  of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 12/27/04]


Former Secy.-Treasurer Charged in Iowa Fed. Court

On Read More ➡