IATSE Treasurer in Massachusetts Charged with Embezzlement

For almost a decade, Ivar Carlson used his union bank account as it were a personal one, and without anyone noticing. People now have noticed. On December 6, Carlson, former business agent and treasurer for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local B-935, was arrested and then charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with one count of embezzling $37,014 in funds from the union, which represents workers at the DCU Center in Worcester. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to federal prosecutors, Carlson, now 58, a resident of Auburn, Mass., during March 2007-September 2016 used his positions at IATSE Local B-935 to write checks from the union bank account, cash the checks, and use the funds for unauthorized purchases. After appearing in court, he was released on conditions. Carlson faces up to five years in prison, up to … Read More ➡

NLRB Proposes Rule to Prevent Union Abuse of Joint Employer Bargaining

Should a corporation be forced to negotiate alongside contractors or franchisees even if it doesn’t set their workplace standards? Once again, the National Labor Relations Board is attempting to clarify this contentious issue. On September 14, the NLRB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would assign a company ‘joint’ or ‘dual’ employer status along with its affiliate “only if the two employers share or codetermine the employee’s essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, and direction.” In effect, the board wants to restore a longstanding, and more realistic, definition that predated its Obama-era ruling in Browning-Ferris. Unions, by contrast, want to retain the widened the definition to expand the possibilities for corporate liability for unfair labor practices.

Union Corruption Update has visited this issue several times, most recently this April in the wake of a series of decisions by the National Labor Relations … Read More ➡

Michael Avenatti Melts Down

Mary Altaffer/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Michael Avenatti, plaintiff’s attorney, media presence and sworn enemy of all things Donald Trump, for the past year has been inflicting himself on the public via CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets. It’s part of his campaign to remove Trump from office on behalf of his star client, porn star Stormy Daniels. Yet Avenatti’s main issue for now appears to be whether he can avoid oblivion despite his receipt of online crowdfunding donations. His longtime former law firm, Eagan Avenatti LLP, received a final eviction notice last month from an Orange County, Calif. court despite bagging numerous outsized awards and verdicts. And he’s facing a costly divorce settlement and a domestic battery charge. His many enemies might be thinking that all this couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Michael Avenatti, now 47, a native of the St. Louis area, didn’t invent self-promotion within the legal profession. But … Read More ➡

IATSE Officials in Virginia Sentenced for Fraud, Embezzlement

On November 28, Dennis and Dorian Nicely, respectively, former vice president and former business agent for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 10 months in prison, to be followed by 180 days of home detention and three years of probation, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement from the Hampton, Va.-based union. The husband-and-wife couple also were ordered to pay the remaining $53,704 in restitution from the $57,310 stolen. Each had pleaded guilty in July after being charged in June. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Heat & Frost Insulators Training Fund Officer in Ohio Indicted for Embezzlement

Terry Doan is a perfect example of why a union official should not be trusted with disbursing funds without the approval of at least one other fellow official. The union now has found out the hard way. On November 13, Doan, secretary-treasurer and a trustee of the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee of Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 84, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on one count of embezzling nearly $200,000 from the training fund over a five-year period. Local 84 is based in Kent, Ohio. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to prosecutors, Doan, now 60, a resident of Deerfield (Portage County), Ohio, back in 2012 used his positions to rescind a requirement that training fund checks above a certain amount have the signature of two trustees. That move gave him carte blanche to … Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Official Sentenced for Accepting Bribes in Chrysler Scandal

Virdell King wasn’t the main character in the self-dealing among certain officials of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the United Auto Workers. But she may be headed for a brief stretch behind bars anyway. On November 13, Ms. King, a former contract negotiator for the UAW, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to two months in prison plus a year of supervised release for her receipt of tens of thousands of dollars from the till of the company’s National Training Center (NTC) in return for a promise to drop certain union demands during collective bargaining a few years ago. She also was ordered to pay a $5,500 fine and a $100 special assessment. The sentencing follows a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update has provided continuous … Read More ➡

Nearly 30 Indiana Carpenters Sentenced for $500K+ Benefit Fraud

The defendants came into the courtroom in large volume, but the judge was more than up to the task. On November 19, fully 27 members of local unions affiliated with the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of the United Association of Carpenters and Joiners were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for defrauding the council’s health care program out of a combined $531,422.68. Though court records do not indicate any prison sentences, the defendants, all of them Indiana residents, were ordered to pay restitution. The actions follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, assisted by Indiana state officials.

According to prosecutors, each of the accused union members had filed fake claims for medical expenses with the Greenwood, Ind.-based council. One of them, Luka Kljajic, who pleaded guilty this July, during 2012-14 had coached various … Read More ➡

Glass Workers President in Texas Sentenced for Records Fraud

On November 6, Charles Webster, former president of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP) Local 284, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to one year of probation for concealing false information in the records of the Longview-based union. He also was ordered to pay $4,633 in restitution, a $1,000 fine and a $25 special assessment. Webster pleaded guilty in May immediately after being charged. GMP voted to merge with the United Steelworkers back in August 2016. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

New Report Describes Dirty Union ‘Corporate Campaign’ Tactics

Obnoxiousness is a universal human trait. But for unions, it’s a tool of persuasion. Large employers, with good reason, are wary. A new paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Hardball: The Tactics of Union Corporate Campaigns,” summarizes organized labor’s frequently aggressive, predatory shakedown tactics in the search to win concessions from supposedly morally errant employers. These campaigns, which seek to discredit a targeted firm’s brand name in hopes of winning concessions, involve extensive groundwork; these campaigns can last for years. Unions and their allies test the legal limits of protest, while raising the costs of business. Undeterred by reality, certain lawmakers on Capitol Hill, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., are sponsoring bills to repeal safeguards against such behavior.

Corporate campaigns are no stranger to Union Corruption Update (see here, here and here). These projects of confrontation and negotiation took off … Read More ➡

Two Chrysler Executives, UAW Official Sentenced for Roles in Bribery Conspiracy

The fallout from the Chrysler-United Auto Workers scandal continues. On November 7, two former executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Jerome Durden and Michael Brown, along with an ex-UAW official, Keith Mickens, were sentenced in Detroit federal court for their roles in a broad scheme in which representatives of the auto manufacturer bribed union negotiators to avoid raising key issues during contract negotiations a few years ago. They are the third, fourth and fifth defendants to be sentenced in the scandal, estimated at $4.5 million, which also involved embezzlement and income tax evasion. The latest actions, said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, represent “further strides in our effort to root out corruption” at FCA and UAW.

Union Corruption Update has covered this pay-for-play scandal many times since it broke last July. The primary culprits were Chrysler Vice President Al Iacobelli, UAW Vice President General Holifield, and Holifield’s girlfriend and … Read More ➡