Louisiana AFGE President Pleads Guilty to Forgery

On September 30, Matthew Cuomo, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1047, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to one count of forging over 50 checks worth about $15,000 against the Kenner, La. union, which represents Transportation Security Administration employees. Cuomo had been charged this past July. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.    … Read More ➡

Labor Department Seeks Tougher LM-2 Form to Fight Corruption

Despite all the legal disincentives, the people running our unions continue to practice fraud and embezzlement. In response, the U.S. Department of Labor has come up with new ways of preventing these things. On September 30, the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) unveiled various changes to its LM-2 reporting document for large unions; i.e., unions taking in at least $250,000 a year. First, these labor organizations must spell out more fully how they pay for assets, hotel stays, restaurants and other items all too often hidden as “miscellaneous.” Second, the largest of these unions – those with annual receipts of at least $8 million – must file a new “long form” LM-2. Labor leaders understandably oppose this. But the proposal rule change addresses real problems, which however frequently detected and punished, require adequate tools.   

Mandatory union financial reporting is authorized by the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act … Read More ➡

Massachusetts AFGE President Indicted for Fraud, Tax Evasion

Michael Oldham gambled over his head. He’s now paying a price. Last Tuesday, October 13, Oldham, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1900, was indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzling nearly $39,000 in funds from the Taunton, Mass. (south of Boston) union, making false statements on government financial reporting forms, and evading personal income taxes. He also was arrested that day. The union represents military and civilian Army mechanics at the former Fort Devens in Massachusetts. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Oldham, a resident of Whitman, Mass., headed AFGE Local 1900 during 2016-18. His alleged acts of wire fraud and related crimes began shortly after he took over from his predecessor. Insisting that union bank statements be mailed to his home rather than union office, he issued union checks to himself, funneling the money into a personal … Read More ➡

Eleven New York Building Trades Union Officials Charged in Bribery Racket

New York City-area construction unions are well-known for being on the take. An announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice won’t likely alter that reputation. On October 1, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest and indictment of 11 officials of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council for various charges related to their receipt of over $100,000 in bribes from nonunion contractors in return for bid-rigging, in the process selling out the dues-paying union members whom they represented. Led by Trades Council President James Cahill, the defendants are current or former members of two local affiliates of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters. Aiding in the probe was the Suffolk County (Long Island), N.Y. district attorney’s office. All the defendants pleaded not guilty at arraignment.

It’s a common form of back-scratching in the world of organized labor: An employer, … Read More ➡

St. Louis Postal Handlers Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement

On October 7, Yvette Luster, former treasurer of National Postal Mail Handlers Local 314, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri with one count of embezzlement in the sum of $184,138 from the St. Louis union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-Treasurer of West Virginia Teachers Union Sentenced for Fraud

On October 2, Cathy Byers, former treasurer of American Federation of Teachers Local 6540, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to eight months of home confinement and five years of supervised release for wire fraud in the sum of roughly $22,000 from the Ronceverte (Greenbrier County), W.Va.-based union. She also was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment on top of the restitution she already has paid. Byers had pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Fort Knox AFGE President Sentenced for Fraud, Forgery

On October 1, Rocky Gannon, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2302, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to 15 months of home incarceration, four years of probation and 250 hours of community service for fraud and forgery. He had pleaded guilty in June after being charged in November 2019 with three counts of fraud and nine counts of securities forgery. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Central California Union Consultants Charged with Fraud

In California, selling workers compensation insurance requires a license. The business practices of Marcus Asay and Antonio Gastelum would seem to justify such a requirement. On September 24, Asay, founder of a Fresno-area firm, American Labor Alliance, and Gastelum, a former principal officer of the alliance, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in a 19-count superseding indictment on fraud and money laundering charges related to their financial products. In 2018 the California Department of Insurance had penalized the company and certain affiliates by more than $4.3 million. The latest action follows in the wake of an amended civil suit filed by a Fresno employer. The defendants deny all wrongdoing. The charges follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor.

American Labor Alliance (ALA), launched in 2007, doesn’t actually look like a union. But that’s what … Read More ➡

Machinists Secretary in Texas Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On September 16, Moises Romero, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 811, pleaded guilty in the District Court of Harris County (Texas) to misdemeanor theft of fiduciary property of roughly between $500 to $1,000 from the Houston union. He then was sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication. As a condition of his plea agreement, he already had paid $21,342. Romero had been charged in February with misapplication of funds in a sum of between $20,000 and $100,000. Local 811 represents about 2,700 ramp and fleet service employees of United/Continental Airlines. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

SMART Treasurer in North Dakota Sentenced for Embezzlement

On September 30, Chad Waldoch, former secretary-treasurer of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 980, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota to 30 months of supervised release for embezzling $107,706 in funds from the Fargo-based union during January 2012-October 2017. He also was ordered to pay $50,270 in restitution on top of the $56,436 he already had paid, plus a $100 special assessment. Waldoch had pleaded guilty this June after being indicted in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡