Ex-District Representative Sentenced in North Carolina Court

On April 5, Angelous “Smokey” Lineback, former international representative for the Retail Wholesale District Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers, was sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to 15 months imprisonment, to be followed by 36 months of supervised probation.  Last May he pled guilty to embezzling funds and falsifying records for two locals he had represented.   In addition to his sentence, Lineback was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $77,441 to UFCW Local 1050 and $13,685 to UFCW Local 1052.  The action follows an investigation by the Nashville District Office of the U.S. Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards (OLMS, 4/26).


Former Secretary Pleas Guilty in Pennsylvania Court

On April 15, Sonya Green, former financial secretary of Steelworkers Local 3657 in Western Pennsylvania, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of embezzlement.  Read More ➡

Miami Bosses Charged with Embezzlement

For a half-decade, leaders of the Miami-Dade County local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ran their union like a private slush fund.  But as ex-leaders, they are paying the wages of their crimes.  On April 20 four former officials of AFSCME Local 121 surrendered to the Dade County authorities, the result of a full investigation by county prosecutors and the inspector general into financial irregularities.  A fifth ex-officer accused in the probe died last year.


According to the arrest affidavit, during the period 1997-2002 the five had embezzled roughly $350,000 in membership dues, mainly from county water and sewer department employees, and then lied about the missing money.   The officials were supposed to ensure that $726,865 of the more than $1 million in dues collected over this time were sent to the union’s international and state parent organizations.  But Read More ➡

Wisc. Union Boss Accused of Stealing

A former official of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was charged on April 13 with felony theft from that union.  Chris Dehn, 36, of Portage, Wisconsin, had served as treasurer of AFSCME Local 3394, which represents workers at the state’s Columbia Correctional Institution.  Prosecutors allege Dehn, while working as a guard at CCI stole $26,189.  The criminal complaint said that Dehn “admitted to taking cash withdrawals from the union savings account,” and “also stated that it was typical for him to get a signature from another union officer upon a blank check and Dehn would then write the rest of the check out.”


Columbia County Circuit Judge Daniel George released Dehn from jail on a signature bond after a court appearance.  If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.  [Associated Press, JanesvilleRead More ➡

Fed. Agency Charges Md. Union with Threatening Employees

Federal authorities say the Maryland State Teachers Assn. (MSTA) broke federal labor laws by “threatening and coercing” employees who sought company benefits denied by the union.  According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling at the end of March, union officials must stop such unfair practices as reprimanding workers petitioning for employment benefits or job reassignments and must post notices stating that they violated labor law.


The union, an affiliate of the Natl. Education Assn., is Maryland‘s largest union and represents about 60,000 public school employees.  The labor board is the third government agency to find the union mistreated its employees.  The Internal Revenue Service found in February 2004 that the union avoided payroll taxes by wrongfully denying employment benefits to union organizers.  In May, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation made a similar finding regarding unpaid state workers’ compensation and Read More ➡

Former Head of Kansas Teachers Union Charged with Forgery, Theft

Wayne Kruse has some lessons to learn, not just teach. On March 8, Kruse, former president of the Lawrence, Kansas Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, was charged with two counts of forgery and one count of theft in connection to the disappearance of nearly $100,000 in union funds. LEA’s current leadership discovered more than $97,000 missing from about $240,000 in dues deducted from members’ paychecks between November 2003 and August 2004. Sam Rabiola, a high school English teacher who succeeded Kruse as the local president, said he found the group’s finances in disarray. “There were no books,” he remarked. “There were some duplicate check stubs and that was about it. A lot of money had been spent and was unaccounted for.”

Kruse, a sixth-grade teacher who had headed the local union since 1999, would not be long at his job. Rabiola asked the Kansas chapter of Read More ➡

Labor Department Plans Increasing Scrutiny of Union Finances

The Bush administration has been rapidly expanding its audits of labor unions.  Union officials are crying foul, claiming the administration is retaliating against their overwhelming support for Senator John Kerry in last year’s presidential election.  But the primary legacy of the recent ramping up of investigations may be a thorough housecleaning of union of their criminal element.


The Department of Labor has released figures showing that during 1991-2000 the number of its audits of national and local unions fell from 1,080 to 206.  By contrast, in 2004 the department performed more than 500 audits.  And it expects to conduct even more this year, in large measure because of the planned addition of 48 full-time workers to its union-auditing unit this year.  That represents a 14 percent increase in the face of personnel cuts in other areas.


Lary F. Yud, deputy director of the Read More ➡

ACLU Gets on Board in Support of Union Democracy in Wash. State

Seeking to uphold union democracy, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and Public Citizen filed suit on April 14 backing the free speech rights of a union member running for office.  The suit was filed on behalf of Joseph Hughes to secure his right to speak with fellow members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).


Hughes is running for Business Manager in the June election of IBEW Local 46, in the Seattle area.  Hughes is challenging a Local 46 rule that forbids candidates from discussing the union election or having political paraphernalia – including buttons or bumper stickers – anywhere on the union’s premises, including the hallways of the union hall or even in the union parking lot.  Because the union runs a hiring hall to which members come daily from surrounding counties in order to secure work, the rule limits a candidate’s Read More ➡

Pro-Stadium Union Boss Guilty of Mob Link

Michael Forde, head of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, has led a charmed life for the past year.  On April 27, 2004, a jury found Forde and a co-defendant guilty of taking a bribe from a mob-controlled contractor.  However, because of a legal technicality, he continues to run the 25,000-member union. 


Forde was among more than three dozen persons indicted in September 2000 by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.  A mob-linked contractor testified that Forde took money to look the other way while he used nonunion labor on a midtown hotel project.  After the conviction, Forde’s lawyers asked that the verdict be set aside because of jury misconduct allegations.  Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Atlas held hearings on the matter, and put off sentencing seven times between last June and November.  He has yet to rule on the Read More ➡

Scarsdale, NY, Resident Accused of Bribing Union Officials

Robert Persico, a Scarsdale, N.Y. businessman, can add one more notch to his mob connections.  Persico, 40, head of the Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based Persico Contracting and Trucking, was charged with bribing officials of Locals 14 and 15 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.  Earlier, he had been indicted for conspiring with a reputed Gambino family capo, Gregory DePalma, also from Scarsdale, to extort another construction company and transport stolen luxury goods. 


The indictment of Persico marks the second time in recent memory that a prominent Westchester County contractor has been indicted in connection with a federal investigation into IUOE corruption.  Last December, John Amicucci, president of DeFoe Corp., along with officials at four other construction companies, was charged with labor racketeering with members of the Gambino crime family.  Additionally, more than 40 contractors, union officials, and members of the Genovese and Read More ➡

Two Ex-Bosses Sentenced in Penn. Fed. Court

On March 29, 2005, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Terry Aldrich, former president of the Westfield Tanning Employees Association, was sentenced to two months in prison followed by three years probation for embezzlement. In addition, Aldrich will be subject to four months of electronic monitoring and he must pay restitution in the amount of $54,770 (payable in the minimum of $50.00 monthly installments). On September 15, 2004, Aldrich pled guilty to embezzling union funds in excess of $39,000.


Also on March 29, 2005, in the United Stated District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Robert Moon, former secretary-treasurer of the Westfield Tanning Employees Association, was sentenced to two months in prison followed by three years probation for embezzlement. Upon release, Moon will be subject to electronic monitoring for four months. Moon must pay restitution in the amount of Read More ➡