AFGE Treasurer in Maryland Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Were it not for an overheard telephone call, Annette Jones might still be ripping off her union. Accidents will happen. On May 9, Jones, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 331, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to bank fraud in connection with her embezzlement over a three-year period of more than $80,000 in funds from her union, which represents about 760 employees of Perry Point VA Medical Center in Cecil County, Md. She had been indicted on multiple counts last June. The plea follows an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General. Sentencing is set for September 10.

According to prosecutors, Jones, now 45, a resident of Port Deposit, Md., conducted a pair of fraud schemes against AFGE Local 331. By far the largest occurred during July 2012-July … Read More ➡

ILWU, Dockworkers in Oregon Sued for Roles in Time Card Scam

There are few workplaces in this country that can match the shipping terminal when it comes to wage and hour fraud – especially if the dockworkers are unionized. Back in December, Columbia Export Terminal in Portland, Oregon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and more than 150 of its members, accusing them of participating in a conspiracy to inflate their on-the-clock time in a variety of ways. The schemes allegedly cost the terminal over $5 million. The union, the suit reads, “organized and orchestrated the scheme to submit falsified time sheets.” A court spokesperson told National Legal and Policy Center yesterday afternoon that the case remains active, though a pretrial hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The longshore industry long has been plagued by union-abetted time sheet fraud. About a dozen years ago, Union Corruption Update extensively Read More ➡

Steelworkers Secretary in Massachusetts Admits to Sufficient Finding of Facts

On April 9, Edgar Barajas, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 4-1702, filed an Alford plea with the Marlborough Division of the Middlesex District Court of Massachusetts following a charge last August that he stole funds from the Marlborough union. He allegedly had made unauthorized cash withdrawals and debit card purchases totaling $10,279. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not plead guilty but instead admits that the evidence is sufficient for a conviction should the case go to trial. By agreement with the union, the court will dismiss the case if Barajas pays full restitution and associated court fees within one year. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Youthful Socialists Ignore Inevitability of Corruption

It is one of modern history’s more famous quotes: “If a man is not a socialist at 20, he has no heart. If he remains one at age 40, he has no head.” These words (and variations thereof) have been attributed to everyone from Disraeli to Clemenceau to Churchill. Whatever the true source, they convey a wisdom that frequently is going unheeded in America. And we risk becoming an ever more controlled and corrupt society.

Consider recent survey data.

This January, the public relations firm Axios released the results of a SurveyMonkey online poll of nearly 2,800 U.S. adults. Respondents were asked how they felt about capitalism and socialism. Capitalism produced a favorable response among 61 percent of all respondents, yet socialism was well-received among a sizable 39 percent. Fully 58 percent of persons ages 18-24 and 51 percent of persons ages 25-34 viewed socialism in a positive light; a … Read More ➡

Illinois SMART Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for Records Fraud

On April 11, Edward Cranston, former secretary-treasurer for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 1421, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three years of probation for filing a false financial report for the year 2014 to conceal his thefts from the Beecher (Will County), Ill.-based union in the sum of $28,220. He also was ordered to pay the remaining nearly $10,000 of the $28,084 in restitution plus a $25 assessment. Cranston had pleaded guilty in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Treasurer in Michigan Charged with Embezzlement

On April 24, Stephen Perez, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 402, was indicted in Grand Rapids federal court for embezzling $14,408.05 in funds from the Grandville (near Grand Rapids) union and then falsifying records to conceal the thefts. The alleged thefts took place during January 2016-March 2017. He faces up to five years in prison. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

HHS Finalizes Rule Barring Union Medicaid Dues-Skimming

A half-decade ago, the Obama administration, in apparent defiance of federal statutes, issued a rule authorizing states to deduct union dues from home care providers whose income is partly or fully Medicaid-derived. The experiment now has ended. Yesterday, May 2, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule to protect non-joining independent providers from having a portion of their paychecks deducted and routed to a union. Public-sector unions have generated an estimated $200 million a year this way. Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, calls the reversal “an encouraging action toward stopping union bosses from unlawfully using public payment systems to intercept tax dollars intended for providers caring for those in need.” The rule is set to take effect on or about July 5.

Union Corruption Update examined this issue at length last year. On July 12, HHS posted a Notice … Read More ➡

Injured Cop Can Sue Black Lives Matter Leader

The network of street and campus demagogues known as Black Lives Matter pretty much has operated with impunity since its founding. But a court ruling late last month could make these social media-based grievance peddlers think twice before targeting cops.

On April 24, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit unanimously ruled that an injured Baton Rouge, La., police officer has legal standing to sue DeRay Mckesson (he prefers not to capitalize the “k”), Black Lives Matter’s unofficial mouthpiece and most visible organizer. Mckesson, the complaint read, in coaxing a large group of demonstrators to block traffic on a highway back on July 9, 2016, created the conditions for the attack on the officer, identified only as John Doe. The decision overturns a district court ruling. And it is the right call.

Black Lives Matter (BLM), now with dozens of chapters across the U.S., … Read More ➡

Genovese Mobster Pleads Guilty in Brooklyn UFCW Scheme

Mafia wise guys still know how to help union officials upon request. But they also know when to pack it in. On April 10, Vincent Esposito, an enforcer for New York City’s feared Genovese crime family, pleaded guilty in U.S. District for the Southern District of New York to racketeering conspiracy engineered by Vincent D’Acunto, a former Brooklyn-based United Food and Commercial Workers secretary-treasurer. The arrangement netted Esposito millions of dollars. D’Acunto and another former UFCW secretary-treasurer in Brooklyn, Frank Cognetta, each had pleaded guilty this March after being indicted in January 2018. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the NYPD and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Food and Commercial Workers Locals 1D and 2D, each a wine and distillery workers union, were deep in racketeering. Frank Cognetta, secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 1D, steered nearly $500,000 from a Local … Read More ➡

Democratic Candidates Line Up for Al Sharpton’s Call for Reparations

It’s hard to imagine a more ill-conceived idea than forcing one race of people to pay reparations to another race for acts occurring more than 150 years ago. Yet after decades of languishing on the margins in this country, the touchy issue of forcing whites to pay blacks reparations for slavery has taken center stage. Early this month, about 15 Democratic presidential hopefuls spoke at Manhattan’s Sheraton Times Square Hotel as part of the annual conference of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Coaxed by Sharpton and a partisan audience, the candidates happily obliged, oblivious to the high likelihood that a reparations program, far from repairing anything, would be a divisive, nonstop shakedown. Black “civil rights” demagogues such as Sharpton, most of all, would reap the benefits.

For decades, prominent black civil rights leaders and elected officials in this country have advocated the creation of a massive federal program to force … Read More ➡