Missouri Boss Sentenced for $18,500 Embezzlement

U.S. Dist. Judge Ortrie D. Smith (W.D. Mo., Clinton) sentenced admitted union embezzler  J. Steven Call Apr. 23 to five years probation, 250 hours of community service and ordered him to make full restitution of $18,536. Call was the president of Am. Fed’n Musicians Local 150, which represented entertainers in Mo., Kan., Okla., and Ark. Call pled guilty Nov. 29 and admitted embezzling funds from the Branson, Mo., based local .

His scheme ran from Apr. 1997 to Mar. 1999. The local was first placed in trusteeship by the int’l union due to financial difficulties in 1995. Then as the the trusteeship was ending, int’l trustee Theresa Gafford made a poor judgment and groomed Call to run the local. He was elected president and secretary-treasurer in Apr. 1997. In an apparent cost-cutting move, Call relocated the local’s office to his leased house in May 1997. He received no salary from … Read More ➡

Denver Boss Ordered to Pay $18,000 in Restitution

U.S. Dist. Judge Lewis T. Babcock (D. Colo., Reagan) sentenced union embezzler Bobby R. Putnam Apr. 23 to five years probation, including six months in home detention with electronic monitoring, and was ordered to pay $18,026.95 in restitution. Putnam, ex-secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of Am. Local 14708 (a.k.a., Denver Mailers Union No. 8) in Denver, was charged Oct. 31 in a 40-count indictment with embezzling $7,808.26 and falsifying union
records. He later pled guilty. The reason for the $10,218.69 difference between the indictment and the restitution amounts was unavailable.

According to the indictment, Putnam engaged in a multi-step check scheme to steal $1,913.28 between Dec. 1996 and Sept. 1997. He allegedly 1) wrote nine union checks to nine union members, 2) endorsed these checks without the nine members’ knowledge or permission, 3) deposited these checks back into the local’s checking account, and 4) then took the cash from the local’s … Read More ➡

Illinois Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $13,000

Wesley J. Sharp, ex-financial secretary-treasurer of Paper, Allied-Indus., Chem. & Energy Workers Int’l Union Local 647 in Des Plaines, Ill., pled guilty May 6 to a one-count of embezzling $13,062.86 in union funds. According to the plea agreement, Sharp wrote 53 unauthorized checks on the local’s checking account between Mar. 1, 1996 and Dec. 29, 1997 totaling $13,062.86. Each check required two signatures of union officers.  On 49 checks, Sharp forged the signature of a second  union officer before negotiating the check. On the other four checks, he simply left off the second signature but was still able to cash the check. He made all the checks payable to himself and converted the union’s funds to his personal use.

Of the embezzled amount, $9,362.86 remains outstanding. Sharp agreed to reimburse $5,000 to Local 647’s corruption insurance company, Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Md. He also agreed to make further restitution … Read More ➡

Magistrate in Florida Embezzlement Case Rules She Has No Impermissible Conflict

As previously reported, over the Dep’t of Justice’ strenuous objections, U.S. Magis. Judge Linnea R. Johnson (S.D. Fla.) ruled in Mar. 2002 that ex-U.S. Atty. Thomas E. Scott’s prior government service did not create a conflict of interest that would bar him from representing indicted union boss Walter J. “Buster”  Browne. Johnson allowed Scott to represent Browne in his upcoming criminal trial on racketeering and embezzlement charges. Browne pled not guilty Nov. 3 to a 40-page federal indictment, brought by Scott’s former U.S. Atty.’s Office, accusing Browne and his sister, Patricia B. Devaney, of running a racketeering scheme that milked more than $400,000 from his union and four companies. Browne is president of the Marine Eng’rs’ Beneficial Ass’n Dist. 1 (a.k.a., Nat’l Fed’n of Public & Private Employees) headquartered in Fort Lauderdale.

However, Johnson herself may be conflicted. On Apr. 24, Johnson denied another DOJ motion requesting that the magistrate … Read More ➡

LMRDA Victory for Ex-Kansas City Boss

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Cir. ruled Apr. 24 that an ex-officer of Int’l Bhd. of Painters & Allied Trades Dist. Council 3 who won a Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. action against his union over his job loss can additionally bring a civil action against the union and its officers alleging violations of the the Labor Mgmt. Reporting & Disclosure Act of 1959. Reversing the U.S. Dist. Court for the W. Dist. of Mo.’s dismissal of Lonnie Gurley’s LMRDA action on the ground that he had already been “made whole” by the NLRB’s order that the union restore his lost earnings and benefits, the Eighth Cir., in an opinion by U.S. Cir. Judge Gerald W. Heaney (8th Cir., Johnson), held that Gurley did not have an “adequate opportunity” to litigate his LMRDA claim before the NLRB. The agency lacked jurisdiction over the claim, the court found, and … Read More ➡

Ohio Unionist Indicted on Pipebomb and Counterfeiting Charges

The State of Utah’s Third Dist. Court has rejected union lawyers’ attempts to dismiss a counter suit, brought by employees represented by Nat’l Right to Work Legal Def. Fdn. attorneys, which, as a result, calls into question the constitutionality of the fundamental union privilege known as monopoly bargaining.  In his ruling issued the week of April 29, Utah Judge Stephen L. Henriod allowed the employees to defend the constitutionality of Utah’s Voluntary Contributions Act (VCA), a law intending to give union members the right to withhold union dues spent for political activities.  If the court refuses to uphold the VCA as constitutional, the court will consider the employees alternative argument that monopoly bargaining power–held in many locales by union  officials of the Utah Public Employees’ Ass’n (UPEA) and Utah Education Association (UEA)–is unconstitutional.

Even though Utah has a highly popular and effective Right to Work law that enables nonunion employees … Read More ➡

Judge Allows ADA Suit Against Union to Proceed

U.S. Dist. Judge George Z. Singa (D. Me., Clinton) held Apr. 23 that an ex-paper mill employee can go forward with an Americans with Disabilities Act claim against Paper, Allied-Indus., Chem. & Energy Workers Int’l Union Local 1188 in Bucksport, Me., because of the local’s “deliberate acquiescence” with the potentially illegal actions of the employer.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Cir. has not yet considered whether a claim for deliberate acquiescence can be brought under either the ADA,  said Singa; but his decision to allow Joseph Greenier to proceed with an ADA claim against the union is “recognition that it is a plausible legal theory worthy of further factual development.”

Singa found Greenier’s allegations to be “adequate” and to constitute “a plausible legal theory” under the ADA. Greenier claimed that he sought the assistance of union officials to remedy the illegal termination, but that he was rebuffed, … Read More ➡

Boss Admits Stealing $271,800 Ontario Local

It’s hard for Gordon Walsh to even consider forgiving his longtime friend, a man who turned against him and stole more than C$270,000 from the union he was heading. Walsh, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 32 and ex-president of Local 68, sat in the Ontario Court of Justice in Kitchener, Ontario, Apr. 26 as Harvey Holst, ex-Local 68 secretary-treasurer, pled guilty to pocketing a total of C$271,800 in union funds from Jan. 1989 to May 2000. The missing money was noticed in May 2000 after Local 68 amalgamated with two other unions representing outside municipal workers. Holst, who secretary-treasurer for 12 years, was arrested in July 2001.

“I’ve lost many, many hours of sleep over this,” said Walsh. “I went through a lot of hardships because people accused me of being in cahoots with him.” Walsh said they haven’t spoken since the embezzlement was uncovered.
 Union … Read More ➡

Seven Bosses, Contractors Indicted in $10 Million Fraud

A Manhattan developer and several union bosses defrauded the N.Y. Metro. Transp. Auth. (i.e., taxpayers) and a landlord of more than $10 million by billing for phantom workers at inflated rates, according to an indictment unsealed Apr. 18 in U.S. Dist. Court in Brooklyn. Seven people, including developer Frederick Contini and Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs Local 14 shop steward Morris “Mickey” or “Fat Boy” DiMinno, were charged in a 55-count fraud and money laundering indictment. Contini allegedly conspired with DiMinno and other union bosses to set up a shell company that billed MTA and the landlord, Zar Realty Mgmt., for non-existent elevator operators at MTA’s new headquarters a 2 Broadway in Manhattan.

The other five defendants are James Roemer, Local 14’s treasurer; Matthew J. Downey and David Coakley, members of Int’l Union Elevator Constructors Local 1; Constantine Vafias, a Brooklyn-based construction contractor; and John “Johnny Rhino” Vitiello. Downey and … Read More ➡

Cleveland Boss Gets 18 Months for $144,900 Theft

U.S. Dist. Judge Donald Nugent (N.D. Ohio, Clinton) sentenced Richard Adams Apr. 19 to 18 months in federal prison for stealing $144,939.46 in union funds and donations, including money collected for the family of a slain police officer. Adams, who was the treasurer of Int’l Ass’n of Fire Fighters Local 639 in Parma, Ohio, for 13 years, often told members that their money was safe and earning 13% interest in bank accounts. Instead, Adams looted the local’s accounts for his own purposes and left the local $12,000 in debt when he was ousted in Dec. 2000.

Local 639 president Nick Kashi told Nugent that the local could have fulfilled dreams but for Adams. “Would we own a union hall today to hold our meetings, children’s Christmas parties and other union-sponsored events to raise money for local charities and public relations events? The possibilities are almost endless. We will never know … Read More ➡