On October 10, Thomas Miller, former financial secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 815, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to two years of supervised probation, the first three months of which must be served in home confinement, for stealing funds from the Joliet-based union. He also was ordered to pay $21,070 in restitution, a $2,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Miller had pleaded guilty on May 19 after being charged earlier that month with one count of embezzlement in the sum of $10,886. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On October 9, Latasha Wilson, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1969, was charged in Ramsey County (Minn.) District Court with one count of theft from the Minneapolis-based union in the sum of $58,150 during the period January 2013-December 2015. Although Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, she was charged in neighboring Ramsey County, where the alleged offenses were committed. AFGE Local 1969 represents employees at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Andrew Thibodeau had a variety of ways of stealing. In the end, he couldn’t maintain the ruse. On October 24, Thibodeau, former secretary-treasurer for International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1433, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to three months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, for embezzling $70,379.30 from the Kensington, Conn.-based union. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Thibodeau had pleaded guilty in April immediately following the reading of the charges. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Thibodeau, now 72, a resident of East Hartford, defrauded his union, which represents workers at the Stanley Black & Decker plant in New Britain, Conn. Having begun his position in 2004, at some point after that he issued unauthorized paychecks … Read More ➡
John Coli is feeling a heavier load than usual these days. On September 21, Coli (in photo), until recently the most powerful Teamster in the Chicago area, was slapped with a 13-count superseding federal indictment for obstruction of commerce; concealment of facts on reporting forms; and income tax fraud. He previously had been charged in July on six counts of extortion related to his exacting payments from a Chicago TV production company. Prosecutors now estimate his take at $325,000, up from the original sum of $100,000. Coli, who resigned on the day of the original indictment, chose not to plead guilty. He might change his mind given that the IRS and the Labor Department are seeking full forfeiture of related assets. For a once-dominant figure in labor and politics, the fall has been swift.
Union Corruption Update has summarized the saga of John T. Coli Sr. more than once (… Read More ➡
On October 4, Gregory Normand, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Transportation Division, Local 324, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on one count of embezzling about $443,000 in funds from the Marysville, Wash.-based union and one count of making false statements in annual financial reports to conceal the thefts. Despite the prodigious sum stolen, no articles on this case could be found anywhere. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On September 27, Norman Baker, former secretary-treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Local 220, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas with embezzling $8,310 in funds from the Axtell (near Waco) union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Laborers International Union of North America Local 773 has had quite a few problems, especially in the area of anger management. That’s why the old guard is no longer in charge. On September 1, LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan (in photo) announced in a letter that he was placing the Southern Illinois-based local under an emergency trusteeship in the wake of reports that several of its leaders had engaged in acts of corruption or intimidation. He justified the takeover as a necessary step to counteract “the breakdown in governance, leadership and democratic procedures brought upon by recent events.” That might be putting it mildly. John Penn, an international union vice president and regional manager, will run the local in the interim.
Laborers Local 773 represents more than 4,500 private-sector and government employees in 41 states. Headquartered in Marion, Ill., it carries enough civic clout to get a street named after … Read More ➡
On October 3, Glenn Robert Smith, former comptroller for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of embezzling $499,087 in funds from the Warren, Mich.-based union. He had been charged in July 2015 following a joint probe by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Despite the staggering sum of money stolen, the case has received virtually no media coverage. A possible clue as to the nature of the thefts, suggested by Union Corruption Update at the time of the charge, lay in a 17-count civil complaint filed by the regional council in November 2013 against Smith and two other defendants, including Smith’s wife, for misuse of union funds. The plaintiff had estimated the loss at more than $25,000. If that case was related to … Read More ➡
On October 4, Matt Smith, former secretary-treasurer of Transport Workers Union Local 576, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on one count of embezzling $399,499 in funds from the Hurst, Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth area) union. Two days later, on October 6, he pleaded guilty. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The resolve of unions to coerce support from unwilling employees shouldn’t be underestimated. Neither should the resistance of such employees. On September 28, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear an appeal in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a case challenging the authority of public-sector unions to impose representation-related dues (“agency fees”) upon non-member workers. If successful, the plaintiffs, a State of Illinois child support specialist and two other public employees, will have overturned the basis for 40 years of union-driven bargaining that has pushed many state and local governments to the brink of insolvency. The Court was deadlocked in a similar case last year.
Union Corruption Update has visited this issue several times, most recently in late-March 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court at the time had announced that it was unable to break a 4-4 tie in Friedrichs v. … Read More ➡