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 ➡

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 ➡

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 ➡

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 ➡

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 ➡

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 ➡

DOL Planning Overdue Audits of Intl. Unions

With the addition of a unit in the Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards (OLMS), labor dept. officials are now prepared to more closely scrutinize intl. unions’ compliance with fed. financial accounting laws.  making up for steady cuts in OLMS staff during the Clinton admin.  According to its budget request for FY 2005, OLMS staff fell from 425 in FY 1985 to 242 in FY 2001.  One of the consequences of that decline is that 10 of the nation’s largest unions have never been audited by OLMS.

 

Under the Bush admin., DOL has received budget increases for OLMS for the last 3 fiscal yrs.  With those increases, OLMS has created a unit dedicated to auditing the financial disclosure forms of intl. unions.  For FY 2005, DOL is seeking a budget hike of 12.9 pct.  That increase would allow OLMS to get is staff level Read More ➡

AFL-CIO Takes Over NY Affiliate

The AFL-CIO suspended the pres. of the Long Island Fedtn. of Labor, Jack Caffey, on June 22, along with about 30 other officials.  The takeover was prompted by an audit begun after allegations emerged that one frmr. employee had embezzled $50,000 through a union credit card.  Auditors with Buchbinder Tunick & Co. found “a disturbing pattern of financial improprieties and financial mismanagement of funds” at the Long Island Fedtn. Workforce Dev. Center.  The nonprofit center is supposed to conduct wrkr. training programs.

 

The AFL-CIO’s northeast regional director, Joe Alvarez, said that while the audit was limited to the training center, its close relationship to the fedtn. means that as trustee, he will investigate the fedtn. and its related groups.  “They’re interrelated organizations and they have the same fiduciaries,” he said, “the same people responsible.  It’s a very close relationship.”  The fedtn. controls Read More ➡

N.J. Police Investigating Missing Funds from Father’s Day Event

N.J. state police are investigating the apparent loss of $15,000 from a 2003 Father’s Day event for state prison officers at Six Flags Great Adventure.  Angry union members switched their allegiance from Police Benevolent Assn. Local 105 to Lodge 200 of the Fraternal Order of Police in response.  State police began their investigation after a member sent a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the N.J. dept. of Criminal Justice.

 

According to the letter, The PBA purchased tickets from Six Flags at a discounted rate, which exec. bd. members and union vice presidents sold throughout the state at $25 ea.  Union accountant Ed Brady said that past event chairmen had deposited ticket sales within 10 days of receipt, or turned the funds over to the union’s treasurer or fin. secy.  But acc. to the dissident member, local PBA pres. Ed Murphy said that Read More ➡

Senate Cmte. Issues ULLICO Report

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) blamed the union chiefs making up the bd. of the union-pension-owned ULLICO company for a insider stock-trading scandal, due to their infrequent meetings and poor attendance.  According to a June 2nd staff report by the U.S. Senate Cmte. on Governmental Affairs, the bd. members’ lack of oversight allowed ex-CEO Robert Georgine to orchestrate a series of deals involving the private company’s stock that enriched him and other employees and bd. members at the expense of the union pension funds supporting the company.  The 98-page majority staff report can be accessed on NLPC’s website at https://www.nlpc.org/pdfs/ULLICO%20Report.pdf.

 

Key findings of the report include the following:

 

Although ULLICO (Union Labor Life Insurance Company) was a corporation directed by leaders of organized labor, Georgine and other mgrs. structured stock transactions largely for the benefit of insiders rather than the union members whose unions and pension funds Read More ➡