On June 26, Shantel Hunter and Travis Hunter, respectively, former president and former acting financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 1-662, were charged in Wayne County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas with theft by deception from the Wooster, Ohio union. Shantel Hunter is accused of stealing between $500 and $5,000; Travis Hunter is accused of stealing between $1,000 and $7,500. The union represents employees of International Paper. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
During his six terms in Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., often has been described in less than flattering terms. “Abuser” is a new one. Last Saturday, Ellison, who also is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was accused by the adult son of a former girlfriend of committing extreme domestic abuse during the relationship. The son posted a comment on Facebook during which he referred to a video allegedly showing Ellison dragging the woman, Karen Monahan, off a bed and screaming obscenities. The congressman, who this Tuesday won his party’s primary for Minnesota attorney general, denies all allegations. “This video does not exist because I have never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false,” he stated. Yet the body of evidence might not work in his favor. And there is a second female accuser with a story to tell.
At the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC), theft seems to be a way of doing business. And for Luka Kljajic, business was good until he was caught. On July 25, Kljajic, a member of the Greenwood, Ind.-based council, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to submitting nearly $50,000 in false claims to a union-sponsored benefit plan and to assisting other union members in submitting false claims to the plan. Sentencing is scheduled for November 19. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
According to prosecutors, Kljajic during 2012-14 submitted fake reimbursement requests for medical plan expenses and helped other union members with similar deceptions. In the case of the latter offenses, he would receive fees ranging from $100 to $500 per claim. In his written plea agreement, he admitted to … Read More ➡
On June 25, John Zehm, former business manager for the Tile Setters and Finishers Union of Northern California, was indicted in the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento on one count of grand theft from the Sacramento union of a sum of more than $950 and one count of embezzlement. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On June 27, Audonus Duplessis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2463, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of interstate transportation of stolen property for his role in moving $11,300 worth of stolen currency from the District of Columbia to Virginia. The Washington, D.C.-based union represents various employees of the Smithsonian Institution. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
As a Certified Fraud Examiner, Salvatore Armao knew he was in no position to do anything but plead guilty. That’s why he did just that. Last Thursday, August 2, Armao, founder and managing partner of a Long Island, N.Y.-based accounting firm, Armao LLP, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to falsifying financial records filed with the Department of Labor to conceal a scheme by an unnamed labor union president to embezzle more than $100,000 over a number of years from a related benefit plan. Armao and a principal officer of his firm, Karen Auer, had been charged on June 1 with aiding and abetting the thefts. Auer, to no surprise, pleaded guilty on August 3. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
According to prosecutors, the unnamed president of … Read More ➡
In the annals of American labor relations, history sometimes reverses course. That certainly was true yesterday in Missouri. By a 2-to-1 margin, voters overturned a law passed and signed early last year to protect private-sector workers under union contract from being forced to pay dues in order to keep their jobs. The referendum, known as Proposition A, had been placed on the ballot via petition. Union leaders now are serving notice that the Missouri vote is the beginning of nationwide campaign to repeal similar “Right to Work” laws in 27 other states. “The defeat of this poisonous anti-worker legislation is a victory for all workers across the country,” crowed AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. His declaration seems a case of myopia.
Once upon a time, during a period known as the Eighties and the Nineties, Al Sharpton – preacher, civil rights activist, media personality, inciter of crowds, and celebrant of all things black – routinely answered to words such as “loud,” “flamboyant” and “crazy.” But for the last decade and a half, the man known as Reverend Al goes by words such as “pragmatic,” “respectable,” “sensible” and “powerful.” Times change, and not necessarily for the better. On the issue of immigration amnesty, that’s especially true.
Al Sharpton, a man who has perfected the art of extracting money and other things of value from the pillars of American society, no longer has to kick down doors to get what he wants. The doors have been opened for him. And many of the people admitting him are those who formerly avoided him as radioactive. As my book, Sharpton: A Demagogue’s Rise, describes, … Read More ➡
For more than a half-dozen years, Rose Marie Lyons stole dues to cover her gambling losses. Union members are wondering how nobody could have noticed. On February 13, Lyons, former president and secretary of the William Penn Education Support Personnel Association (WPESPA), surrendered to authorities in Delaware County, Pa., where she was charged in county district court with embezzling more than $200,000 in cash and checks from the Lansdowne union. Ms. Lyons, now retired, has been free in the ensuing six months on $100,000 bail. The union is affiliated with the Pennsylvania State Education Association, in turn an affiliate of the National Education Association. The action follows a probe by Lansdowne and Delaware County police. No updated information is available.
The WPESPA represents about 90 auxiliary employees of the William Penn School District, one of whom was an administrative assistant, Rose Marie Lyons. Now 52, Lyons, a resident of Wilmington, … Read More ➡
As if it wasn’t difficult enough keeping up with the guilty pleas in the ongoing United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler corruption scandal, another name now can be added to the list. On Monday, July 23, Nancy Adams Johnson, for a while the second-highest ranking official at the UAW, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal payments from certain Chrysler executives in return for dropping certain contract demands. She also abused her union credit card. Ms. Johnson had been charged in March in a five-count indictment following a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to federal prosecutors, Nancy Johnson, now 57, a resident of Macomb, Mich., conspired with her union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) during collective bargaining sessions in 2015. Company … Read More ➡