Mafia Enforcer Sentenced for Racketeering against UFCW Local in Brooklyn

Even for the mob, union shakedowns can’t go on forever. On July 19, Vincent Esposito, an enforcer for the Genovese crime family, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for racketeering conspiracy related to funds he extorted from the Brooklyn-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2D over a more than 15-year period. He also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine, over $3.8 million in asset forfeiture and restitution in an undetermined sum. Ex-local Secretary-Treasurer Vincent D’Acunto Jr. already pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. Esposito pleaded guilty in April after being indicted in January 2018. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the NYPD and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Esposito, currently in his early 50s, was the love child of the late Genovese family boss of all bosses, Vincent … Read More ➡

Indianapolis Teachers President Charged with Embezzlement; Pleads Guilty

For years, Rhondalyn Cornett enriched herself by stealing from dues-paying members. She’s now about to learn a few unexpected lessons. On July 22, Cornett, former president of the Indianapolis Education Association (IEA), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with one count of wire fraud in a scheme that embezzled more than $100,000 from the teachers union, an affiliate of the Indiana State Teachers Association and the National Education Association. She then pleaded guilty. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and Indianapolis metro police.

Rhondalyn Cornett, now 54, a resident of Indianapolis, served as president of the union during November 2013-November 2018. She also had a side hustle. According to prosecutors, Cornett wrote checks to herself from a union bank account and used a union debit card in … Read More ➡

Ex-Chicago Teamster Boss Coli Pleads Guilty to Shakedowns, Tax Fraud

John T. Coli Sr. has a saying: “Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.” He’s kind of feeling like a hog now. On July 30, Coli (in photo, on right), for years the most powerful Teamster in the Chicago area, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count each of receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return. The first charge refers to acts of extortion totaling $325,000 from an area employer in order to ensure “labor peace.” He had been slapped with a 13-count superseding indictment in September 2017 after being indicted on six counts that July. Coli resigned as head of Teamsters Local 727 on the day of the initial indictment, clearing the way for son John T. Coli Jr. to take over. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the Labor Department’s Office of … Read More ➡

Postal Workers President in Kansas Indicted for Embezzlement

On July 31, Asenath Roland, former president of the Kansas Postal Workers Union, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on one count of embezzlement of funds from the Wichita-based union in the amount of $4,740. The union is an affiliate of the American Postal Workers Union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE President in South Carolina Indicted for Fraud, Theft

On July 18, John Sammons, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1872, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on five counts of mail fraud and one count of theft in unspecified sums from the union, which represents civilian employees at Shaw Air Force Base. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Vice President Sentenced for Taking Bribes from Chrysler

Norbert Jewell believed that he was overdue for a slice of the good life. For now, however, his life is not good. This Monday, August 5, Jewell, a former vice president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), was sentenced in Detroit federal court to 15 months in prison for accepting as much as $95,000 in bribes from officials of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in return for dropping certain union demands during contract talks held in 2015. He had been charged this March, pleading guilty in April. His conviction was the eighth resulting from a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General into the misuse of an estimated $4.5 million from the Chrysler-funded National Training Center.

Norbert Jewell, now 61, a resident of Swartz Creek (near Flint), Mich., headed the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler operations from 2014 until his … Read More ➡

NYC-Area Longshoremen Boss Arrested for Shaking Down Employer

When Glenn Blicht talked about “tickets,” it wasn’t about a concert or a ball game. At least one businessman who had dealings with him learned the hard way. Last Friday, July 26, Blicht, president of Local 164 of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), was arrested and then charged in Manhattan federal court with one count each of honest services fraud and receipt of bribes from an unnamed employer in return for a promise to back away from filing union arbitration complaints against the company. Following his arraignment, he was released on a $100,000 bond. He’s due back in court on August 26. The employer already has pleaded guilty. The arrest follows an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Glenn Blicht, now 57, a resident of Wilton, Conn., has served as an officer of the Ridgefield Park (Bergen County), N.J.-based ILA Local 164 in … Read More ➡

Mob-Linked Union Boss in Chicago Sentenced for Theft

John Matassa Jr. says he’s being sentenced for his reputation, not his deeds. Evidence points toward the latter. Last Monday, July 22, Matassa, former secretary-treasurer of Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to six months in prison plus six months of home confinement for embezzling funds from the Chicago-area union related to putting his wife on the union payroll for a no-show job. He had been indicted in May 2017 on 10 counts of embezzlement, fraud and other offenses, pleading guilty to a reduced embezzlement charge this February. The actions follow a probe by the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

As Union Corruption Update has reported more than once (for example, here and here), John “Pudgy” Matassa, now in his late-60s, a resident of Arlington … Read More ➡

Maryland HVAC Contractor Sentenced in Virginia for Fraud, Theft

On July 12, Howard Janoske, co-owner of an HVAC and plumbing company in Maryland, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to six months of home confinement and two years of supervised probation for his role in a conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, theft and embezzlement over a three-year period. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the sum of $23,367, pay a fine of $25,000 and forfeit $92,432 in assets. Janoske had pleaded guilty in March. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

As Union Corruption Update had reported, Janoske and a business agent of a large, unnamed Herndon, Va.-based union had entered into an illegal play-for-pay arrangement. Through his company, Janoske from about mid-2012 until mid-2015 paid the official tens of thousands of dollars for personal home … Read More ➡

Hawaii Laborers Business Manager Charged with Embezzlement

An ample salary wasn’t enough for Rodney Capello. On July 15, Capello, former business manager and secretary-treasurer of Hawaii Electrical Workers Division of Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 722, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii with embezzling nearly $200,000 in funds from the Honolulu-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Capello’s annual salary in recent years had exceeded $200,000. But he wanted more, and apparently didn’t have to look far to find it. According to prosecutors, Capello, from around February 2013 to around March 2016, “did knowingly embezzle and convert to his own use monies and funds of the Union in the approximate amount of $184,771.98.” As such, prosecutors plan to seek restitution of defendant assets in the event of a conviction. The union since has been placed under trusteeship by LIUNA headquarters … Read More ➡