Ex-Calif. President Charged with Embezzling More than He Admitted

Local prosecutors filed a felony embezzlement charge against Robert Gilstrap, who turned himself in to Clovis police on Jan. 22.  According to Fresno County Deputy Dist. Attny. John Savrnoch, Gilstrap embezzled the funds from the Clovis Public Works Employees Affiliation over the 10 yrs. that he was president and treasurer of the union, until May 2003.  The local union has since affiliated with the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers.  When he resigned last year, Gilstrap admitted to stealing $58,000.  Auditors for the union say that Gilstrap actually stole $96,519.  Clovis police spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee told the Fresno Bee, “There was no firm figure listed when we turned it in to the district attorney’s office.  We are estimating it’s about $80,000.”  Gilstrap is currently free on $5,000 bail. [Fresno Bee, 1/23/04]


Dallas Jury Issues Split Verdict on Frmr. Union ChiefRead More ➡ “Ex-Calif. President Charged with Embezzling More than He Admitted”

Ex-US Attny Goes from Prosecuting NYC Police Unions to Protecting them

Frmr. U.S. Attny. Mary Jo White is now defending the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Assn. against charges that its hierarchy tried to cover up for a drunken officer convicted of vehicular manslaughter.  As U.S. Attny. for the Sou. Dist. of NY, White won the conviction of two lawyers and a transit police union boss in 1998 for a racketeering conspiracy.  The lawyers paid more than $400,000 in bribes in return for more than $2 million paid to their firm, which represented the transit and other NYC unions.  All three men convicted also worked for the PBA.


Now in private practice, White is representing the PBA, which is accused of “hinder[ing] the investigation and prosecution” of Joseph Gray.  In Aug. 2001, Gray spent all day drinking at the Sunset Park topless bar, then get behind the wheel of a van and plowed into a pregnant Maria Herrara, Read More ➡ “Ex-US Attny Goes from Prosecuting NYC Police Unions to Protecting them”

Fed. Investigator Charges CA Guards Union with Cover-up

An investigator appointed by a fed. judge has concluded that officials of the state’s prison guards union have protected rogue guards, resulting in a code of silence where “good officers turn bad.”  Special Master John Hagar released a 71-page report on Jan. 15 recommending criminal contempt charges against the frmr. head of the Calif. Dept. of Corrections, Edward Alameida, and an ex-chief deputy, Thomas Moore. 


According to Hagar, the two quashed an investigation of guards at Pelican Bay State Prison on perjury charges, and then deceived Hagar.  Alameida’s decision to end the internal probe reportedly came just days after a telephone call with the vice president of the Calif. Correctional Peace Officers Assn.


Last year, fed. officials turned over to the state evidence that at least 3 guards lied under oath about 2 other guards, Edward Powers and Jose Garcia, who were convicted of beating Read More ➡ “Fed. Investigator Charges CA Guards Union with Cover-up”

Ex-President Indicted for Embezzlement, Falsification, in OH Court

Allan Spates was indicted on Dec. 22 on charges that he embezzled $29,746 from the union he formerly served as president.  He is also charged with falsifying the financial disclosure form he filed for the union with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.  Spates was president of Local 5-1250 of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Wrkrs. union (PACE) in Ravenna, Ohio.  From at least Jan. 2000 through Oct. 2001, Spates allegedly pocketed members’ dues payments, used the Union’s debit card for personal purchases, made false claims of lost time for which the Union compensated him, and obtained unauthorized reimbursements from the Union.


In April 2002, Spates submitted the Union’s LM-3 financial disclosure form to the U.S. Dept. of Labor.  He claimed to have been paid only $4,834 in 2001, when he allegedly had been paid substantially more.  He also allegedly under-reported the Union’s receipts Read More ➡ “Ex-President Indicted for Embezzlement, Falsification, in OH Court”

Trial of NYC Union Boss Begins

In opening statements on Jan. 14, fed. prosecutors accused Charles Novak and other frmr. officials of Local 1 of the Intl. Union of Elevator Constructors of lining their pockets with the wages of no-show wrkrs.  Novak’s trial on racketeering charges began on the 14th.  “Workers got paid for being in bars, for doing whatever,” said Asst. U.S. Attny. Keir Dougall.  From each no-show paycheck, Dougall said, a percentage went to Novak and more than 2 dozen other Local 1 bosses and members, while contractors received the rest as kickbacks.


Novak and 25 other bosses, members and associates were indicted on Feb. 7, 2002 on charges that they stole more than $6 million in fraudulent wages and benefits at more than 20 construction sites in the NYC area from 1989-2001.  The charges center on the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) entered into by most major N.Y.C. construction Read More ➡ “Trial of NYC Union Boss Begins”

Judge Delays DOL Disclosure Reforms in Election Year

U.S. Dist. Judge Gladys Kessler (D.C., Clinton), on New Year’s Eve, blocked the immediate implementation of the Bush Administration’s union financial disclosure reforms.  Union bosses will now be able to spend membership dues, voluntary and compulsory, on election-year politics without having to account for it, which the new disclosure rules would force them to do.


This is not the first time Judge Kessler has sided with unions in a disclosure case.  In Dec. 2001, she ruled that documents revealing links between the AFL-CIO and Democratic Party during the 1996 campaign must be kept secret.  Kessler acknowledged that her opinion “ends a 25-year practice by the [Fed. Elect. Commn.] to make available to the public the full investigatory record pertaining to any complaint filed once the complaint is resolved.”  Kessler said that she was “compelled by the plain wording” of the Fed. Elect. Campaign Act, which Read More ➡ “Judge Delays DOL Disclosure Reforms in Election Year”

Wash. Women Complaining of Union Boss Harassment Threatened

Three women whose complaints of sexual harassment were instrumental in the firing of a union boss from his hospital job have reported getting threatening letters and phone calls, with 1 woman finding a mutilated rabbit in her front yard.  Three other accusers were named in a federal lawsuit by the ex-Western State mental hospital mgr., Barrette “Bear” Green, claiming to have been the victim of racism.  Green is also the frmr. head of Local 793 of the Wash. Fedtn. of Public Employees, which is affiliated with the Amer. Fedtn. Of State, County & Municipal Employees.


Therapist Kathleen Lizee accused Green of sexual harassment, and hospital managers of inaction, in a civil lawsuit that the state settled last year by agreeing to pay Lizee $896,000.  A consultant hired by the state soon turned up reports of coerced sex and harassment by Green from more than a dozen Read More ➡ “Wash. Women Complaining of Union Boss Harassment Threatened”

Troubled NYC Local Hit with another Embezzlement Charge

Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau announced on Dec. 22 the arrest of Lloyd Clarke on charges of embezzling some $2.4 million from a local of Dist. Council 37.  D.C. 37 has seen more than 30 frmr. officials convicted of embezzlement and vote fraud.  Clarke worked for more than 20 yrs. As the treasurer of Local 375, the Civil Service Technical Guild.  The guild is affiliated with Amer. Fedtn. Of State, County & Municipal Employees. 


According to Morgenthau, Local 375 hired an outside auditor this past summer, who discovered that Clarke had “loaned” himself $500,000 from the union to start a real estate business that currently owns 11 apartment bldgs. worth $7 million.  Later, Clarke allegedly stole $2.34 million from the Professional Employees’ Legal Service from July 1996 thru May of last yr.  The Service is supposed to provide no-cost legal advice to union members Read More ➡ “Troubled NYC Local Hit with another Embezzlement Charge”

Hearing on Secondary Boycott of Overnite Set

A Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. administrative law judge in Atlanta will hear testimony on Apr. 15 on Overnite Transportation Co.’s allegations that the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters engaged in an illegal secondary boycott when union activists picketed a number of the freight company’s customers.  The union engaged in numerous unlawful acts as part of its strategy of “ambulatory picketing” at sites where Overnite trucks were delivering or picking up goods from customers, says Overnite.  The hearing comes 30 months after IBT members struck the Richmond, Va.-based carrier in what the union claimed was an unfair labor practice strike. The ongoing job action, which has been marked by a barrage of litigation before NLRB as well as in state and federal courts, appears no closer to settlement today than it did when it began in 1999.

The secondary boycott charges against IBT relate to a series of picketing incidents that occurred … Read More ➡ “Hearing on Secondary Boycott of Overnite Set”

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Boss Wilhelm Defends Chicago Trusteeship

Just before a hearing focusing on the trusteeship imposed on Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 1 in Chicago, HERE boss John Wilhelm justified his actions. In a Mar. 13 statement, Wilhelm alleged financial and managerial deficiencies with Local 1, which for decades had been HERE’s flagship. Wilhelm pointed to a sharp decline in union representation in Chicago and substandard wages and contractual protections for Local 1 members. In large part, however, Wilhelm’s statement focused on reckless spending and financial mismanagement by local bosses.

Wilhelm’s press release come one day before HERE conducts a hearing on the trusteeship. The hearing, scheduled for Mar. 14-16, was ordered by the Dep’t of Labor’s Office of Labor Mgmt. Standards. After probing the legality of the trusteeship, OLMS concluded that HERE, “had an allowable purpose for imposing the trusteeship,” but had failed to hold a hearing to justify its actions with members … Read More ➡ “Boss Wilhelm Defends Chicago Trusteeship”