Janett Humphries hasn’t had much to look forward to over the last several months. She was convicted in the fall on conspiracy and perjury charges for diverting about $36,000 in funds from her union, Service Employees International Union Local 99, toward the successful 2003 Los Angeles City Council campaign run by ally Martin Ludlow. And her psychiatrist has confirmed that she has Alzheimer’s disease. Lawyers for Humphries, 63, argued for leniency at her sentencing hearing, claiming she could not withstand any jail time. Los Angeles Municipal Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus wasn’t quite swayed. On December 14, he gave Humphries a six-month sentence.
Marcus originally had planned to give Humphries a one-year sentence, but reduced it upon hearing of her medical condition. Still, he balked at the idea of no sentence at all, as it would send a message that breaking the … Read More ➡ “Ex-Los Angeles Union Chieftain Gets Jail Sentence”
On December 19, Michael Winchester, former financial secretary for United Auto Workers Local 651, based in Flint, Michigan, was sentenced in federal court to 12 months and one day in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for embezzling union funds. He also will have to make restitution to a bonding company, Zurich North America, in the amount of $20,401.46 and pay a $100 special assessment. He pleaded guilty in September. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General. (OLMS, 1/9/07).
Kansas City, Mo. Secretary Charged with Embezzlement
On December 18, Jackie Uptegrove, former secretary-treasurer for Lodge M-146 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri with one count of making false entries in union records in the amount … Read More ➡ “Michigan Financial Secretary Sentenced for Embezzlement”
When the new 110th Congress convenes this week, it can count on intensive and sustained pressure from organized labor to enact pressing agenda items. Unions spent an estimated $100 million on the 2006 midterm elections, with the AFL-CIO paying for about $40 million of the tab. The candidates benefiting from this largesse, directly or indirectly, were overwhelmingly Democratic. Now that the Democrats have regained a majority in the House of Representatives and (to a lesser extent) in the Senate, ending a dozen years of frustration, labor bosses want Congress to deliver the goods. That means hiking the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour; restricting free-trade agreements; and expanding employee health and safety coverage. Most of all, it means passing card-check legislation, introduced in the last Congress by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that would enable unions to obtain exclusive representation of workers … Read More ➡ “Union Bosses Demand New Congress Pass Card Check Bill”
In his extended family, Frank Persico was the smart one. A college graduate and computer-savvy Wall Street stockbroker, he knew how to make money for clients, especially when those clients were members and associates of New York City’s Colombo crime family. That acting Colombo boss Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico was a cousin didn’t hurt his career. Now that career has been fatally cut short. This November, Frank Persico, 43, died of a heart attack, leaving behind more than $15 million in unpaid penalties from the many stock swindles he engineered years before. The take from those $50 million or more in scams could have been a lot higher had he gained unfettered access to the $50 million pension fund of Local 400 of the Industrial & Production Workers Union where he had served as treasurer.
Persico was among 120 persons across the U.S. arrested by federal agents in … Read More ➡ “Colombo Cousin Dies, Leaves Heavy Unpaid Debt from Swindles”
In Northwest Indiana, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners appear to be as adept at mishandling funds as they are at handling building materials. In 2005 Gerry Nannenga, formerly president of the union’s Local 1005 and then secretary-treasurer of the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking a bribe years earlier to vote in favor of using $10 million in union pension money to buy 55 acres of choice real estate. This past September 21, a federal jury decided against two other union officials in a separate scandal. They are Paul Hernandez, Nannenga’s replacement as Local 1005 president, and Kenneth Castaldi, head of the local’s apprenticeship training program. Each was convicted on theft, mail fraud and other charges.
Hernandez and Castaldi were indicted in May 2005 for embezzling funds from a training grant from the State of … Read More ➡ “Indiana Official, Training Director Found Guilty of Theft”
Nearly a decade ago, in the spring of 1997, General Motors assembly plant workers in Pontiac, Michigan walked off the job in what became a nearly three-month-long strike. It could have been longer had the automaker not accepted an offer they couldn’t refuse from a United Auto Workers local. A half year ago, two surviving instigators of the scheme had a date with justice in a federal courtroom. On June 27, 2006 a jury returned a guilty verdict against Donny Douglas and Jay Campbell, respectively, a former UAW servicing representative and a former shop committee chairman for Local 594, for conspiracy to violate the Taft-Hartley Act and Hobbs Act anti-extortion statutes. The pair had been indicted nearly four years earlier for using their positions to demand the hiring of unqualified persons, in violation of a contract with GM. A third man, William J. Coffey, now deceased, also had been … Read More ➡ “Ex-Michigan Officials Convicted of Extortion in Hiring Scheme”
Antoinette Cox-Burress needed money to buy medicine for her ailing mother and support her children. Unfortunately, she went to the wrong source – her union. On December 8, Mrs. Cox-Burress was sentenced to zero-to-two years in prison for embezzling $12,663 from Local 1293 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers during the period June 2001-December 2004. She’d pleaded guilty in September, agreeing to make full restitution. Under the sentence, Cox-Burress, 43, is immediately eligible for parole, though she likely will have to do at least some prison time. “There’s no doubt this is a very sad case, a sad situation,” said Lancaster County District Judge Jeff Cheuvront. (Lincoln Journal Star, 12/9/06). … Read More ➡ “Nebraska Local Ex-Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement”
The U.S. Border Patrol, overworked as it is in guarding our border with Mexico, shouldn’t have to worry about guarding the finances of its local unions. Unfortunately, as long as the locals have members like Janalyn Buseck, they will. Buseck, a resident of Yuma, Arizona, has been accused of embezzling funds from American Federation of Government Employees Local 2595, which represents border guards working along the Yuma sector. According to a criminal complaint filed in Yuma County Superior Court, Buseck, 45, who had served as the union’s secretary-treasurer, diverted money from the union to pay off personal credit card bills during 2002-04.
The allegations arose after an audit conducted in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). Buseck was indicted this past July on two counts of Class 3 felony theft. While the court file indicates no dollar figure for the funds … Read More ➡ “Border Patrol Union Secretary in Arizona Charged with Theft”
On December 14, Josefina Suarez Gonzalez, ex-president of AFGE Local 1662, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to five years probation and ordered to pay $27,405 to her union. Gonzalez had pleaded guilty back in June to one count of embezzling union funds following an indictment back in October 2004. The union represents employees at the Brown & Root Logistics facility at Fort Huachuca Army Base, not far from Tucson. The sentencing follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 12/23/06).
New Jersey Financial Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
On December 5, Marie-Elena Clayton, former financial secretary-treasurer for Glass Molders & Plastics Local 236A, pled guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $41,126. The guilty plea follows an … Read More ➡ “Arizona Former Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement”
The International Association of Iron Workers seemed willing to overlook a lot of things that had gone wrong at Riggers Local 136 in the Chicago suburb of River Grove, Illinois. Former longtime local boss Fred Schreier had pleaded guilty in federal court to graft. The Department of Labor this July filed a lawsuit alleging financial irregularities in the pension and welfare accounts of this and other Iron Workers locals. And the Justice Department had begun a probe into long-suspected mob influence at Local 136. But when local bosses stopped forwarding dues, it was time for the international union to take over the show.
A few days after Thanksgiving, the Washington, D.C.-based union placed the local under receivership, stripping elected officers – including President Frank DiMarco – of their authority, and removing the local’s seats from various pension boards. The supervision period, say international officials, will last up to … Read More ➡ “Iron Workers Headquarters Takes Over Chicago-Area Local; Issues Remain”