These last few months haven’t been good to the mob-connected former leaders of two Brooklyn, N.Y. affiliates of the United Food and Commercial Workers. One of them, Vincent D’Acunto, head of UFCW Local 2D, was sentenced in August. Now it’s Frank Cognetta’s turn. On September 6, Cognetta, former secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 1D, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for racketeering conspiracy related to his fleecing the Brooklyn union in return for kickbacks from a benefits consultant. Cognetta, like D’Acunto, had pleaded guilty this March after being indicted in January 2018. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the NYPD, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Cognetta, a resident of Staten Island, “engaged in multiple schemes to defraud his union…by, among other things, soliciting and accepting bribes … Read More ➡
On September 27, Gregg Pedersen, former president of Association of Civilian Technicians Local 75, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa to one count of wire fraud in the amount of $6,320 from the Sioux City-based union. He had been charged in August. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On September 17, Travis Cofer, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 990, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee on one count of embezzling $12,432 in funds from the Maryville (near Knoxville) union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
What’s green, worth tens of trillions of dollars, and makes corporations an offer they can’t refuse? The answer: Climate Action 100+, an institutional investor-led initiative that in its brief existence has emerged as a force for radical social transformation. The group already has secured commitments from more than 160 corporations worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to target levels set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015, a pact from which President Trump announced withdrawal plans in June 2017. Suppose a company doesn’t want to commit. Well…that could create problems.
Like any scientific controversy, climate change invites skepticism. Human activity may be responsible for increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations which raise temperatures and threaten ecosystems. Yet there is compelling evidence that global warming is due to non-human factors and that it alternates with global cooling in a recurring cycle. The issue, in other words, is far from … Read More ➡
Until recently, Tony Liesenfeld represented guards at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. In an odd twist of fate, he’s now facing the possibility of being an inmate there or somewhere else like it. On October 4, Liesenfeld, former president and secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 148, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to an information count of wire fraud against the union totaling more than $77,000 over several years. The plea includes a requirement to make full restitution on top of any sentence. He had been charged on September 13. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Over its nearly 90-year history, Lewisburg federal prison has served as a temporary home to a rogues’ gallery of convicts including Whitey Bulger, John Gotti and Jimmy Hoffa. Tony Liesenfeld isn’t remotely in their class. But as head of … Read More ➡
On August 15, Earl Roberts, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4, was charged in a three-count information in U.S. District for the Eastern District of Michigan with embezzling $53,697 in funds from the Yale (St. Clair County) union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
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On September 12, Juan Evereteze, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3258, admitted to a sufficient finding of facts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Suffolk County Superior Court for larceny. He then was sentenced to four years of probation, the first year of which would be supervised, and ordered to pay $38,000 in restitution. An Alford plea, though not a formal guilty plea, is an admission that the facts as presented are sufficient for a conviction. Local 3258 represents employees of the Boston Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On September 10, Jennifer Conway, former vice president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 727D, pleaded guilty in Dunn County, Wisconsin Circuit Court to one count of misdemeanor theft from the Menomonie union, and then was ordered to pay court costs of $458. She previously had paid restitution in the amount of $250 after being charged this June. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The consequences of theft were far more expensive than Danny Woodcock had anticipated. On August 29, Woodcock, ex-president of Communications Workers of America Local 83770, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to 46 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $519,963.04 in restitution and a $100 special assessment for stealing more than $300,000 in funds from the Columbus, Miss. union. Woodcock had pleaded guilty in August 2018 after being indicted in November 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Communications Workers Local 83770 represents between 300 and 400 employees of L3 Vertex Aerospace, LLC, an engineering and maintenance contractor operating at Columbus Air Force Base. According to prosecutors, Woodcock, now 66, a resident of Caledonia (Lowndes County), Miss., not only headed the union but stole from it … Read More ➡
On September 12, Audonus Duplessis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2463, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in connection with his moving $11,300 worth of stolen funds from the Washington, D.C.-based union to Virginia for the purpose of buying a car. The total sum stolen from the union, which represents Smithsonian Institution employees, exceeded $80,000. Duplessis had been indicted in June. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡