Secretary of Inland Empire Independent Union Sentenced for Role in Ripoffs

When it came to embezzlement, John J. Romero wasn’t in the same league as his father. But he learned the trade and is paying the price. On June 9, Romero was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one year of home confinement, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for his role in the disappearance of nearly $800,000 from the health plan of the Colton (San Bernardino County)-based United Industrial and Service Workers of America. He, his sister and their mother each pleaded guilty in 2017 in connection with the thefts. His father, John S. Romero, union president, was convicted by a jury this February on 14 separate felony charges. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Security Benefits Administration.

Union Corruption Update has been covering the Romero saga … Read More ➡

Ex-President of Maryland Police Union Charged with Embezzlement

On June 24, Sandra King, former president of the Federation of Police & Security – Alliance of Independent Workers, LLC, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland with a criminal information of one count of embezzlement in an unspecified amount from the Owings Mills (suburban Baltimore) union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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Police Union Grip on Cities Must Be Broken

AFSCME President Lee Saunders

It’s called “the blue wall of silence,” that seemingly impenetrable code of honor among cops who cover for fellow officers suspected of breaking the law. For decades, this code has been scrutinized, but rarely as much as right now in the wake of the videotaped death of a black suspect, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police. In addition to triggering demonstrations and riots, the incident, less overtly, has caused many people to raise the possibility that unions representing cops are part of the problem. Critics argue that police unions do more to shield members from accountability than promote good community relations. While riots and calls for the abolition of police forces are indefensible, there are legitimate concerns that police unions are doing more harm than good.     

There are currently about 700,000 law enforcement officers in this country, most of whom belong to … Read More ➡

Transit Union Secretary in NW New Jersey Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Angel Garcia was a part-time bus driver. He also was a part-time thief. On June 23, Garcia, former financial secretary for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1614, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to embezzling about $117,000 in funds from the union, listed as based in Morris County and Sussex County, N.J. At various points during June 2014-May 2019, alleged prosecutors, he withdrew funds from three separate accounts to pay for rent, utilities, telephone, and other personal items and services, without executive board approval. Sentencing is set for November 17. He had been charged last December following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Mobster Sentenced for Racketeering in Brooklyn UFCW Shakedowns

Frank Giovinco was a moneymaker for the Genovese crime family. But where he’s going, the financial opportunities are very limited. On June 22, Giovinco was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to four years in prison, plus three years of supervised release, for acts of racketeering and extortion in the diversion of large sums of funds from Local 1D and 2D of the United Food and Commercial Workers, each based in Brooklyn, to mob-controlled operations. He had been convicted by a jury last December. The secretary-treasurer of Locals 1D and 2D, respectively, Frank Cognetta and Vincent D’Acunto, already had pleaded guilty in March 2019 for their roles. Two prominent Genovese mobsters, Steven Arena and Vincent Esposito, also have been sent packing. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor and the NYPD.

The personality of Frank Giovinco, now 52, a resident of Syosset, N.Y., if … Read More ➡

West Virginia Teachers Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

On June 16, Cathy Byers, former treasurer of American Federation of Teachers Local 6540, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to one count of wire fraud of nearly $23,000 from the Ronceverte (Greenbrier County), W.Va.-based union. The state AFT chapter had discovered multiple purchases “unrelated to the business” of the union, and listed out these transactions as part of a January 10, 2019 letter to Byers and the local president, Jayne Ford. Byers soon admitted that she had used union funds for personal expenditures. Ford was not charged. The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

APWU Secretary in New Jersey Sentenced for Embezzlement

On June 17, Robert Peter, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 526, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to six months of home detention and three years of probation for embezzling funds two years ago in the amount of $34,500 from the Blackwood, N.J.-based union. He had pleaded guilty in August following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Dissenting Employees in Seattle Sue SEIU Locals for Beck Violations

For more over three decades, union leaders have done everything possible, legal or not, to skirt the Supreme Court’s Beck decision. Some very recent examples come from Seattle. Last Wednesday, June 17, Daniel Dalison, an employee of a building maintenance contractor, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local for misleading him about his right to withhold dues for functions unrelated to union business. Two months earlier, Dalison, at the time an employee at an area hospital, along with a fellow hospital employee, Roger White, had filed separate NLRB complaints against another Seattle-area SEIU local on similar grounds. Under Beck, a union must inform employees of this “opt-out” right. The dissenters appear to have a strong case, too.

Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, a labor union has the right of exclusive representation. That is, if a majority … Read More ➡

Lewisburg Federal Prison Guards Ex-President Sentenced for Fraud

Tony Liesenfeld for several years represented guards at the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa. He soon will be an inmate, most likely at a location not far away. On June 8, Liesenfeld, former president and secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 148, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to a year and a day in prison, and two years of supervised release, for acts of wire fraud against the union totaling $77,716. He also was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Liesenfeld had pleaded guilty last October after being charged in September. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Liesenfeld, now 49, a resident of Sunbury, Pa., served as president and treasurer of local union during 2011-15. For much of that time, prosecutors alleged, he made unauthorized use of his … Read More ➡

SMART Treasurer in North Dakota Pleads Guilty to $100K+ Embezzlement

On June 12, Chad Waldoch, former secretary-treasurer of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 980, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota to embezzling $107,706 in funds from the Fargo union during January 2012-October 2017. He had been indicted in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡