NYC Union Bosses Target Manhattan D.A.

Ex-judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, who has yet to formally announce her bid to unseat veteran Manhattan Dist. Attny. Robert Morgenthau, already boasts an impressive lineup of union endorsements.  The Captains Endowment Association, the Detectives Endowment Assn., NY State Court Officers Assn. and the Uniformed Fire Officers Assn. were among those who publicly backed Snyder at a news conference in mid-Jan.


Bolstered by the law-enforcement unions, Snyder suggested that if elected this fall, she would not spend half the DA’s budget on white collar crime. (Morgenthau aides said it’s actually 30 to 40 percent.)  But there could be some other reasons unions might support Morgenthau’s opponent.  The Detectives Endowment Association has been furious at Morgenthau for vacating the convictions of five men in the Central Park jogger case in 2002 after DNA linked another man to the 1989 attack.


Many other govt. union officials have distrusted Read More ➡

Ex-Chicago Boss Charged with Embezzlement

John “Buddy” Ruel liked a good time.   He’d slap down a credit card to pay for booze, items from an adult toy shop, limousine rides, even an escort service.  The only problem was that the credit card wasn’t his.  It belonged to the Chicago Ironworkers District Council, a powerful union group that Ruel headed for years.


On Jan. 17, the federal government moved against Ruel for his alleged excesses, charging him with “converting the labor organization’s funds to his own use” over at least seven years by using a union credit card and phone card for his own personal whims.  Ruel was president of the district council, the umbrella group for around 7,100 ironworkers and machinery-moving riggers, for more than a decade, until he was voted out and replaced by Danny Aussem in 2001.


Aussem said the finances were awful when he took over. Read More ➡

Fed. Takeover of NYC Union Looming

Now that several of its top officials have pled guilty in a massive, mob-orchestrated no-show jobs scheme, the next stop for the city’s powerful Operating Engineers union is expected to be a federal trusteeship, reports Tom Robbins of the Village Voice.


The Manhattan and Brooklyn U.S. Attorneys, who brought twin cases against officials of locals 14 and 15 of the engineers–and their mob allies–have made little secret of their intent to file civil racketeering charges against the union itself.  Talks on a possible civil RICO case are ongoing, union officials acknowledge. “Our lawyers are working with the feds; that’s where it stands,” said Joe Brady, a spokesperson for the national union in Washington.


But John Ruggiero, a former Local 15 business agent, has told prosecutors that he was told that recently convicted Local 15 boss Tommy Maguire had paid $80,000 to the president of the IUOE Read More ➡

San Diego Union-Trib Scores Cozy Pension Deal for Union Bosses

In a vote that was scarcely noticed at the time but today is drawing scrutiny from federal investigators, the City Council quietly approved extraordinary retirement benefits for three politically powerful individuals — the presidents of the police union, the firefighters union and the white-collar workers union. All three are current or former city employees and vested in the municipal pension system.


Under this highly irregular arrangement, the union chiefs were allowed to add their union salaries to their city salaries in calculating their retirement benefits, thus substantially boosting their taxpayer-financed pensions. This unique perk, extended exclusively to the three incumbent union leaders, but not to their successors, will cost taxpayers $2 million, according to an estimate by Michael Conger, a Rancho Santa Fe lawyer who has successfully sued the city on other pension matters.


At best, the cozy deal worked out for the union presidents was a grossly Read More ➡

Village Voice’s Tom Robbins Provides Color to NYC Local 15

For more than 25 years there hasn’t been a big construction job in this city where Tommy Maguire, leader of the Operating Engineers union, wasn’t present for the photo op.  Recently, he was there at ground zero, glowingly describing the dedication of his members as they disinterred the wreckage.


Then last month, shortly before his 69th birthday, Maguire was compelled to attend a different kind of event, this one in Brooklyn federal court, where he stood glumly alongside three other union officers as he admitted to taking bribes from contractors in a scheme that had helped to vastly inflate the cost of construction in this town. Going back to 1989, he acknowledged in court, he had accepted payoffs, sometimes in the form of Christmas gifts, from at least two contractors.


The conviction of Thomas P. Maguire was greeted as just another ho-hum labor corruption tale in a Read More ➡

NY Contractors Indicted for Union Bribery

Top executives of 5 NY construction firms were indicted earlier this month on charges of making illegal payoffs over more than a decade to officials of two union locals.  According to the indictments, since 1991, the execs had made hidden payments to officials of Local 14 and Local 15 of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers.  


Dino Tomassetti, president of Laquila Construction, was described by prosecutors as the lead defendant. The others arrested were John Amicucci, president of DeFoe Corporation; Guerino Cavaliere, president of Acme Skillman Construction Company; Peter Ruttura, vice president of Ruttura & Sons; and Edward Simpson, chief engineer at NAB Construction Corporation.  All five were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and illegal labor payments.


Prosecutors said that the contractors made payments to the union officials in exchange for their cooperation in violation of collective bargaining agreements. The officials allowed the companies to Read More ➡

Iowa Ex-Narc Charged with Embezzlement

A federal grand jury in mid-Decmeber accused a former state narcotics officer of embezzling more than $89,000 from the state peace officers’ union.  Rodney Alan Fox was indicted on charges that he embezzled $89,433 from the State Police Officer Council, using checks and credit cards for personal expenses. The council represents 600 state police officers, including troopers, park rangers and conservation officers.  Fox is scheduled to appear in federal court in Des Moines Dec. 28. He plans to plead innocent, said his lawyer, F. Montgomery Brown.


Fox is accused of using a union credit card for personal purchases, writing union checks to pay off his personal credit card bill, spending union money on two unauthorized cell phones, and writing union checks to himself.


Fox’s lawyer, F. Montgomery Brown, said Fox will fight the charges.  “He was a peace officer and is not an accountant,” Brown Read More ➡

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 ➡

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 ➡

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 ➡