When it comes to ethically compromised congressmen, Chicago seems to produce a bumper crop. Last Thursday, March 22, the House Ethics Committee released separate reports admonishing Reps. Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez, both Democrats from Chicago districts, for violating House rules concerning outside financial activities of members. The committee ordered Rush (in photo, on left) and Gutierrez (in photo, on right) to pay respective sums of $13,310 and $9,700 to the U.S. Treasury. The investigations were triggered by a probe by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Given the facts, the sanctions appear to be slaps on the wrist. The case of Gutierrez, who is retiring after the current term, is especially disturbing in the context of other conflicts of interest.
Bobby Rush, now in his 13th term, represents the 1st District of Illinois, which covers a large portion of Chicago’s South Side. To many, he is best-known … Read More ➡
On March 9, Kimberly Steinhoff, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2-87, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to pay $10,651.52 in restitution, a $2,500 fine and a $25 special assessment for falsifying financial records of the Munising (Upper Peninsula), Mich.-based union. She had pleaded guilty in January after being charged last June with embezzling $12,751 in union funds. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On March 7, Milton Thomas, former shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 890, was indicted in Cook County Court on one count of theft in an amount of between $10,000 and $100,000 from the Morton Grove, Ill.-based union. Thomas allegedly had made out unauthorized checks to himself and forged disbursement vouchers. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On March 6, Steven Brumit, former secretary-treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), West Virginia Legislative Board, was indicted in Summers County, West Virginia Court on one count of embezzling $6,433.76 from the Teamsters-affiliated union, formerly located in Hinton, W.Va. In the scheme, Brumit wrote 13 unauthorized union checks to himself. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On March 2, Rocky DeFilippo, former delegate of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 189, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on one count each of wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and making false statements in a letter he had filed with his employer, Amtrak, in hopes of achieving back pay and a salary increase. DeFilippo, who has been involved in a bitter personal injury suit against Amtrak for the past year, had been charged last May. The union is based in Metuchen, N.J. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Amtrak Police Department.… Read More ➡
On February 21, Fonda White, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 2390, was sentenced in Prince George’s County Circuit Court to 10 years in prison (suspended), 90 days of home detention and five years of probation for theft of property from the Maugansville (near Hagerstown), Md.-based union in an amount of between $10,000 and $100,000. She also was ordered to pay $46,271.52 in restitution. White had pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in July on four charges. The union represents employees of Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia) in various locations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On March 1, Mackenzie Dworshak, former treasurer of Montana Teachers Local 6105, an affiliate of both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, pleaded guilty in Montana District Court, Lewis And Clark County, to embezzlement of funds from the Helena-based union. Dworshak had been charged last May with stealing $5,461 following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Helena Police Department.… Read More ➡
A decade ago, John Hamilton was a powerful labor leader. Now he’s about to experience the power of incarceration. Last Wednesday, March 14, Hamilton, former business manager and general vice president of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to two years in prison for conspiring to commit extortion with at least two other Local 324 officials. He also was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to the people he shook down. Hamilton had been convicted last August after being indicted on nine counts for extortion, embezzlement and other offenses. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
According to federal prosecutors, Hamilton, now 63, for the last few years a resident of Ocala, Fla., had demanded that business agents and members … Read More ➡
In mid-February, Timothy Carrol Smith, former secretary-treasurer for Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 84, was charged in Anchorage federal court with embezzling more than $80,000 in funds from the union, which represents personnel at Elmendorf-Richardson Joint Air Force Base. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Joel Wagner took liberties with his union expense account once too often. On January 16, Wagner, treasurer of the Dane County Sheriff’s Association, was charged in Wisconsin state circuit court with two counts of theft and six counts of misrepresentation in the disappearance of about $10,000 in funds from the Madison-based union. Though Wagner had retired from the sheriff’s office early last year, the association had begun to probe his handling of finances in 2016. Wagner’s lawyer, Chris Van Wagner, says that Wagner is prepared to reimburse the union for “every dime that he had taken.”
According to the complaint, Joel Wagner, now 54, a resident of Sun Prairie, Wisc., engaged in acts of theft between sometime in 2011 and May 2016. By the latter year, after leaving his union post, union leaders had grown suspicious. Wagner’s successor, Greg Leatherberry, along with union president John Cahill, asked Wagner several times … Read More ➡