UAW Vice President Charged in Chrysler Scandal; Pleads Guilty

For a while, Norwood Jewell managed to avoid prosecution in the Fiat Chrysler-United Auto Workers pay-to-play scandal that so far has produced over a half-dozen convictions. But his run of good luck has ended. Yesterday, April 2, Jewell, a UAW vice president until last year, pleaded guilty in Detroit federal court to illegally accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from Chrysler executives via the employer-funded National Training Center. He had been charged on March 18. His offenses were part of a wide-ranging probe into a years-long pattern of bribery and embezzlement involving an estimated $4.5 million in NTC funds. Jewell is set for sentencing in August. The latest charges loom especially significant given that the UAW’s current contract with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford expires in September.

Union Corruption Update has described this investigation on numerous occasions since the initial indictments came down in July 2017. Certain officials … Read More ➡

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Indianapolis Indicted for Theft

On March 15, Charlotte McDaniel, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3826, was indicted in Marion County, Indiana Superior Court on three counts of theft from the Indianapolis union in a sum of between $750 and $50,000. The union represents Indianapolis public school bus drivers. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Ms. McDaniel, it should be noted, has a “history.” Back in August 2015, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery for hitting an unruly 14-year-old female student with a broom handle while on her afternoon bus route about a year and a half earlier. One wonders if she has a future.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Secretary in Indiana Pleads Guilty to Theft

On February 27, Darin Kingrey, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 706, pleaded guilty in Vermillion County, Indiana Circuit Court to two counts of theft totaling $7,464 from the Cayuga, Ind.-based union. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Will Trump Labor Department Follow Through on Preventing Union Corruption?

The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, as NLPC readers well know, has identified and helped prosecute much union corruption over the years. But the agency’s efforts would be even better realized if it finalized a pair of dormant rules promised two years ago. The first would establish a new financial reporting form, T-1, requiring unions with at least some private-sector members to disclose financial data for pension funds and other trusts. The second would impose financial reporting upon intermediate-level unions. Each had been proposed during the first term of the Bush presidency but shelved under President Obama. Contrary to frequent assertions from labor leaders, these regulations would not be burdensome. But they are likely to make unions more responsive to dues-paying members.

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) is a creation of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, enacted … Read More ➡

Michael Avenatti Charged with Extortion and Fraud in Separate Cases

Mary Altaffer/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Could the fall of Michael Avenatti be at hand? For those who have been in the crosshairs of this manic, headline-addicted lawyer, it would be a welcome moment. Early yesterday afternoon, Avenatti, best-known for having represented Stormy Daniels in her civil lawsuits against President Donald Trump and Trump’s ex-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was charged in Manhattan and Los Angeles federal courts with crimes that could land him up to 97 years in prison. In Manhattan, where he was arrested, Avenatti allegedly had tried to extort over $20 million from Nike Inc. in return for a promise not to savage the company’s reputation. In Los Angeles, he faces separate fraud charges of diverting funds from a client settlement to his personal use and of grossly overstating his income to obtain a bank loan. He is now free on $300,000 bond with travel restrictions.

National Legal and Policy Center several … Read More ➡

Long Island Accounting Executives Sentenced for Records Fraud

Sometimes union corruption cases merge in unexpected ways. That was the case in the sentencings of Salvatore Armao and Karen Auer, respectively, the managing partner and principal officer of a Long Island accounting firm. On February 26, Armao was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to two years of supervised release, including six months of home confinement, to making false statements related to aiding and abetting embezzlement by a union president. He also was ordered to pay $9,592 in restitution, $18,700 in asset forfeiture and a $3,000 fine. A little over a week later, on March 8, Auer was sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $7,194 in restitution. Each had pleaded guilty last August following a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Salvatore Armao, founder and managing partner of the Garden City (Long Island), … Read More ➡

UFCW Secretary-Treasurer in North Carolina Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

There is something weirdly fitting about a labor official named Slaughter who represents slaughterhouse workers. But whether fate or coincidence, it is no longer. On February 25, Terry Slaughter, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to embezzling $62,315.38 from the union, which represents employees of the sprawling Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C., about an hour and a half’s drive south of Raleigh. Slaughter had been charged in early January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Evidence indicates that a far larger sum of missing funds is attributable to a former president.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208 was born of trauma, in this case one of the most bitter labor disputes in recent U.S. history. The union in the early-90s launched a … Read More ➡

Detroit AFSCME President Sentenced for Embezzlement

Mervin Hawk was an unlucky gambler. That’s why his time behind bars is a sure thing. On March 7, Hawk, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1640, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $330,000 in funds from the Detroit union over a more than two-year period. Hawk had pleaded guilty last November after being charged in a one-count information last April with stealing over $600,000. He also was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $362,623. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to court records, Hawk, now 59, a resident of Southfield, Mich., used his position to make frequent withdrawals from … Read More ➡

Mob-Connected Chicago Union Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

John Matassa Jr.’s biggest mistake was trying to qualify for an early retirement. He now is qualified for prison. On February 26, Matassa, former secretary-treasurer of Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of embezzling $738 in union funds, far below what he actually had stolen from the union and the government. He had been indicted in May 2017 on 10 counts related to his creating a no-show union job for his wife and collecting Social Security benefits for himself. Matassa for decades has been a reputed “made man” in the Chicago mob. The plea deal calls for 15 to 21 months in prison, plus $66,500 in restitution. The actions follow a probe by the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

John “Pudgy” Matassa Jr., … Read More ➡

UAW Local President in Illinois Sentenced for Embezzlement

On February 25, Anthony Edmunds, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2419, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to three years of probation and one year of home confinement for embezzling $19,482 in funds from the Danville, Ill. union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment. Edmunds had pleaded guilty last October after being indicted in December 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡