Fla. Union Boss’s Sentencing Delayed

A judge said on Nov. 30 that he would rather wait and hear from the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of federal sentencing guidelines before deciding how long he should send Broward County union kingpin Walter “Buster” Browne to prison.  Although Browne’s sentencing has been delayed several times, U.S. Dist. Judge Jose E. Martinez (S.D. FL, G.W. Bush) did take action on another front. He said he was ordering Browne and his sister to forfeit more than $590,000 in assets to the federal government.


A federal jury in Miami convicted Browne in June of labor racketeering and fraud. After a two-month trial, the jury found that Browne and his sister, Patricia Devaney, lined their pockets by running the 7,000-member Fedtn. of Public and Private Employees like an organized crime racket.  Devaney helped Browne pad his expense account and embezzled more than $116,000 from the union’s payroll.Read More ➡ “Fla. Union Boss’s Sentencing Delayed”

NY Union Bosses Admit Links to Mob

Roslynn Mauskopf, U.S. Attny. for the East. Dist. of N.Y., announced on Nov. 8 that Thomas McGuire, former vice president of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers and business manager of Local 15, pled guilty to receiving unlawful labor payments in violation of the Taft Hartley Act.  Daniel Murphy and Thomas McNamara, former business agents of Local 15, pled guilty to racketeering based on mail fraud and receiving unlawful labor payments in violation of the Taft Hartley Act.  And Local 15 member Anthony Quaranta pleaded guilty to mail fraud.


The guilty pleas arise out of a broad investigation into organized crime’s corrupt influence in the construction industry in the N.Y.C. metropolitan area, which, to date, has resulted in the convictions of 21 defendants, including the underboss of the Colombo organized crime family, John J. DeRoss, Colombo family soldier Vincent Ricciardo, six Colombo family associates, three union Read More ➡ “NY Union Bosses Admit Links to Mob”

DOJ Asked to Investigate Aggressive Union Protests Nationwide

Fourteen U.S. representatives, incl. Tom Feeney (R-FL), have asked the U.S. Dept. of Justice to investigate union protests they say were designed to intimidate Bush-Cheney supporters in 10 cities on Oct. 5.  The union militants showed up at Bush-Cheney campaign offices in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Fla., as well as seven other U.S. cities.  Their official purpose was to deliver postcards from people opposed to new Bush regulations on the classification of overtime employees.


According to an Orlando police report, Rhyan Metzler, a field director for the Republican Party of Florida in Orlando, told authorities that about 60 protesters forced their way into the party’s headquarters at about 1 p.m.  One protester, Van Church, forced the door, causing Metzler’s arm to be caught, the police report said. Metzler said Wednesday that his left wrist was fractured in the scuffle.  The police report Read More ➡ “DOJ Asked to Investigate Aggressive Union Protests Nationwide”

DOL Restores $50,000 To New York Union’s Health and Pension Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor obtained a consent judgment requiring former trustees of the health

and pension plans of District 6, Intl. Union of Industrial Service, Transport & Health Employees in New York City to restore $50,000 for failing to prevent multiple violations of federal employee benefits law by another trustee. 


Under the consent judgment, former trustees Jerome Vuoso, Ludovic Marcovici and Francis Winn also must pay $10,000 in civil penalties, forfeit and restore any assets they have from the District 6 pension plan back to the plan, and are permanently barred from serving any employee benefit plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).


“Plan officials who mismanage health and retirement plan assets jeopardize the benefits of workers,” said Francis Clisham, director of the New York regional office of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which investigated the case. “Last year, the Administration Read More ➡ “DOL Restores $50,000 To New York Union’s Health and Pension Plans”

Union Politicking, Wasteful Spending Plague Mo. Fire Protection

In Chesterfield, Mo., the 3 members of the Monarch Fire Protection Dist. Bd. meet twice a month to discuss district business.  Some of the meetings, held in a boardroom attached to a firehouse, last little more than half an hour.  For that part-time work, the board members — a surgeon, a business owner and a college teacher — have been paid a total of $13,050 so far this year.  That doesn’t count the health insurance the dist. provides to each of them, bringing the board’s expected compensation this year to more than $70,000.


In St. Charles County, firetruck No. 8720 gleams in the bay of the fire station on Old Highway 94.  It is one of 4 new trucks, all with seats embroidered with a union logo, bought last year by the Cottleville Fire Protection District for half a million dollars each.  The district Read More ➡ “Union Politicking, Wasteful Spending Plague Mo. Fire Protection”

Fla. Grand Jury Wags Finger at Politicking Fire Fighting Union

Members of the Orlando firefighters union should not have been paid by the city for their time spent working on Mayor Buddy Dyer’s campaign, a grand jury concluded.  But the jury, impaneled during an investigation into the March election that kept Dyer in office, issued no indictments.


“While the grand jury finds that the evidence is insufficient to charge criminal violations, it does find that the practice of using public funds to compensate firefighters while engaging in union activities to be a violation of the public trust and poor stewardship of public moneys,” the grand jury foreman said after Tuesday’s closed hearing.


The union is one of the most active labor groups in central Florida. Under their contract, there is money set aside to pay members for time spent on union business.  The city lets the union decide what constitutes union business, and as far as Read More ➡ “Fla. Grand Jury Wags Finger at Politicking Fire Fighting Union”

Ala. Union Chief Testifies before Grand Jury about Contribution to Ex-Gov.

State UMW chief John Stewart testified before a grand jury on Aug. 9 about a 1999 contribution to the Ala. Dem. Party that went unreported.  The $50,000 contribution was made at around the same time that then-Gov. Don Sigelman was campaigning for a state lottery.  It was not reported by the Dem. Party in 1999, but showed up on the next report filed with the Ala. Secy. of State.  A former partner in the investment firm AFS Equities appeared before the grand jury a week earlier to discuss Democratic Party donations that his firm handled for about a week in 1999.  The money was sent to an out-of-state investment account.


The fed. grand jury has been investigating several events of Siegelman’s 1999-2003 term, incl.: donations to the 1999 lottery campaign; Siegelman’s appointments to the state panel that gives hospitals permission to expand; a tax break Read More ➡ “Ala. Union Chief Testifies before Grand Jury about Contribution to Ex-Gov.”

Md Union Employee Sentenced for Embezzlement

U.S. Attny. Kenneth L. Wainstein and Michael Cahir, Dist. Director of the Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards, announced that on July 26, Renee Newman, 33, was sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Royce C. Lamberth (D.C., Reagan) to 6 mos. in the electronic monitoring program and 5 yrs. of supervised probation.  Newman was also ordered to make full restitution to the Natl. Alliance of Postal & Fed. Employees (“NAPFE”).  On April 23, Newman pled guilty to 1 count of Embezzlement of Assets of a Labor Organization.  This charge arose from Newman having stolen $29,220.60 from NAPFE from Sept. 2002 through Jan. 2003.


According to the govt’s. evidence, on Nov. 15, 2001, Newman was hired to work in the headquarters of NAPFE, located in Wash., D.C.  As an accounts payable clerk in the Treasurer’s office, her duties included preparing payment vouchers for vendors who Read More ➡ “Md Union Employee Sentenced for Embezzlement”

NYC Bosses Indicted for Racketeering, Extortion

Six officials with Local 8 of the Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Wrkrs. union were indicted on July 27 in a racketeering scheme run by the Genovese crime family.  According to Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau, the union officials extorted cash payments from contractors.  The payments became bribes when the contractors were allowed to use non-union labor — often at less than half the wages of unionized wrkrs. — and were also allowed to use power tools not permitted under union work rules.  “There was no violence,” Morgenthau said.  “There were threats, mostly to their livelihoods.”


In July 2000, 2 Local bus. agents and several contractors were indicted for similar offenses.  After their removal from the union, acc. to the indictment, a rigged election elevated Anthony “Tony Muscles” Guardino to the ofc. of bus. mgr. of Local 8.  It was Guardino who allegedly transmitted the Read More ➡ “NYC Bosses Indicted for Racketeering, Extortion”

AFL-CIO Loses Last Fight to Stop LM-2 Reform

U.S. Dist. Judge Gladys Kessler (D.C., Clinton) has cleared away the AFL-CIO’s last gasp attempt to escape the reformed financial disclosure forms they and the nation’s wealthiest unions must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.  Last Jan., Kessler ordered that the revised LM-2 forms take effect, either on July 1, 2004, or 90 days after DOL made available a “fully tested version” of the computer program for filling out the new form.


After DOL released the software to unions on Mar. 26, the AFL-CIO claimed that the program was not “fully tested,” and that the new reporting requirements — among them the disclosure of political spending — should not take effect on July 1.  On July 13, Judge Kessler pointed out that unions whose FY begins on July 1 have had 6 mos. to prepare for the new forms.  She also wrote that DOL Read More ➡ “AFL-CIO Loses Last Fight to Stop LM-2 Reform”