Allegations of union corruption surrounding Michigan casino mogul, Anthony Soave, have jeopardized his latest $200 million venture — MGM Grand’s Detroit casino slated to open in 1999. Michigan law requires major investors to pass background checks and to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Soave’s trouble is he was indicted and arrested in a 1971 federal gambling conspiracy case, and law enforcement entities in Michigan and New Jersey claim he has had contacts with organized crime figures. Soave’s case was dismissed because prosecutors failed to get the proper signatures for a wiretap.
In addition to the gambling case, in which Soave was indicted with 20 others — many convicted bookies and known gamblers, Michigan investigators will reportedly scrutinize Soave and his dealings with New Jersey trash businessmen who turned out to be convicted felons or mob associates. Soave sold his trash-hauling company, City Management Corp., in 1998 for … Read More ➡ “Corruption Charges may Cost Michigan Casino Mogul’s License”
On Feb. 15, the New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse declared N.Y. City to be “the national capital of union excess and corruption” and “the mother lode of union corruption.” Here are some excerpts:
“Other cities are well known for union corruption, of course, among them Chicago, Boston, Providence, R.I., and several New Jersey locales. But labor investigators and experts say no other city today comes close to New York in the number of officials under investigation or the dozens of union locals under trusteeship. …Labor corruption is so widespread in New York that union locals representing 300,000 workers — nearly one-fourth of the city’s unionized work force — have been in trusteeship at some point over the last two years.”
The U.S. Dep’t of Labor and FBI “have placed more racketeering investigators in New York than in any other city. Although other cities may have extensive corruption in two or … Read More ➡ “New York Times Declares New York the “Union Corruption Capital””
Reforms of the mob-ridden N.Y. Dist. Council of Carpenters, launched in Jun. 1996 by the United Bhd. of Carpenters, may have been derailed. The reforms began with UBC president Douglas McCarron ousting the council’s corrupt boss, Frederick Devine, who was convicted in Aug. 1998 on embezzlement charges. Other corrupt bosses were replaced with rank-and-filers as business agents. But recently, three reformers have been fired reportedly because they did their jobs too well. “I was told I wasn’t a team player,” said reformer Mike Bilello who was fired after he removed several shop stewards for illegal work.
William Keating was told the same in Jan. by UBC supervisor Roger Newman. “He told me, ‘You’re just not on the team.’ I said, ‘I visit twice as many [construction] jobs as anyone else.’ He says, ‘There you go again, you act like you’re a superstar.'” Keating says he saw “lots of dirty deals” … Read More ➡ “New York Reformers Booted by Boss Newman”
The federal racketeering and extortion trial of three bosses of the Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 675 in southern Florida began Feb. 17. Ex-business manager, vice president and president of the local, Joseph R. Gagne, as well as his associates Dennis J. Walton and Roy Savigliano have allegedly kept control of the local by beating, threatening and shooting at union members and others who refused to support their control. [Palm Beach Post 2/18/99]
Hawaiian Teamsters Indicted for Arson
Two prominent members of Teamsters Local 996 in Honolulu were indicted by a federal grand jury Feb. 17 for arson. Joseph “Joe Boy” P. Tavares, Jr., was charged with conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of arson and faces 25 years in prison. George E. Cambra was charged with conspiracy to commit arson and faces 5 years. Cambra is also the owner of George Cambra Movie Production Trucks, Inc., and … Read More ➡ “Florida Racketeering & Extortion Trials Begins”
U.S. Dist. Judge Joe Kendall in Dallas fined the Allied Pilots Ass’n at least $10 million Feb. 13 for ignoring his back-to-work order and continuing a sickout that stranded tens of thousands of passengers. Kendall said the fine could be well over $10 million because it was intended to reimburse American Airlines for losses due to the sickout. Kendall stated, “Unfortunately, the radical element that appears to be in control of [APA] seems determined to fly American Airlines into the side of the mountain, taking themselves, the company, their co-workers and their customers with them.” Kendall also held bosses Richard LaVoy and Brian Mayhew in contempt for halfheartedly telling pilots to end the sickout. LaVoy was fined $10,000 and Mayhew $5,000. [N.Y. Times 2/14/99]
“Looking out the window, it sure looks cold out there… A typical rotten February weekend… Comforting, isn’t it, to think that top…labor leaders are … Read More ➡ “Judge Fines Union $10 Million”
Tom Leedham, the boss who lost the 1998 election for Teamsters president, is continuing his textbook example of electoral “sour grapes.” On. Feb. 23, the court-appointed election appeals masters Kenneth Conboy affirmed James P. Hoffa’s certification as Teamsters president, but Leedham, a Ron Carey-loyalist, was granted 14 days to appeal Conboy’s ruling to U.S. Dist. Judge David N. Edelstein. Leedham and allies have successfully kept Hoffa from taking control of the union for nearly three months after his election. Hoffa canceled his Mar. 6 inaugural in Washington, as well as Mar. 7 in Chicago and Mar. 13 in L.A. [Detroit News 2/25/99]
Texas Boss Disqualified from Office
All Teamsters officers elected in 1998 have been certified except one: James P. Hoffa slate member, James D. Potter of Texas, a vice-presidential candidate for the Southern Region. Potter was disqualified for breach of union election rules. He reportedly lied about breaking donation … Read More ➡ “Hoffa Certified, But Delayed Again”
Federal labor racketeering investigators are looking into the possible misuse of $210 million worth of employee insurance contracts in the Broward Co. (Fla.) School Dist. After 30 months of apparent dormancy, the investigation is alive again with grand jury subpoenas delivered Feb. 12. The subpoenas requested minutes of the Superintendent’s Insurance Committee. A key member of that committee is Broward Teachers Union president Tony Gentile. [Sun-Sentinel 2/17/99]
Alternatively, the subpoenas may be targeting Fed. of Public Employees boss Walter “Buster” J. Browne. Brown heads a union the represents many non-teacher School Board employees and he is a member of the Insurance Committee. The union boss is also the ex-Port Everglades Commission chairman. Investigators have been looking into payment to Browne since Jan. 1992 from local shipping firms and two other unions: Dania Beach Am. Maritime Officers and Teamsters Local 769. Further, they’re interested in Browne’s influence on the Insurance Committee. … Read More ➡ “New Subpoenas Stir Florida Probes”
Darren Fish, who lost a rerun election for president of AFSCME Local 494 in Pontiac, Ill., said Feb. 12 that the local’s parent union is investigating the rerun. In Dec., Fish and incumbent boss Danny Jarrett split the original vote for president with a third candidate. Fish and Jarrett were the top vote-getters and had a runoff two days later. Fish won the runoff 198-184. But on Jan. 13, Local 494 threw out the runoff results and set another for Feb. 11. Jarrett won the second runoff 250-228. Fish criticized the revote due to the fact that only 80 out of 750 members caused the second runoff. Fish also said questionable methods were used in the second runoff. A member “was telling new employees that I was no longer employed…, when really I was on vacation,” said Fish. [Pantagraph 2/13/99]… Read More ➡ “Illinois Local’s Election Questioned”
A day after ex-member Jennifer Murray won a $750,000 jury verdict in sexual harassment suit against Int’l Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union Locals 19 and 98 in Seattle and others, she and her family were threatened. Murray says she received death threats Feb. 13 and her mother was cursed by Longshoremen at a restaurant. Murray is so terrified, she plans to move away with her two children. Murray’s stepfather, a lifelong union foreman won’t speak to her. “My (step)dad wants nothing to do with me because I sued. I am no longer his daughter,” Murray said.
In July 1996, two weeks after she had a baby, Murray claimed she was repeatedly molested by a fellow Longshoremen in the hold of a cargo ship. She protested each time the man thrust himself on her. Before that, she said she had been subjected to unsolicited sexual comments and harassment that included being stalked … Read More ➡ “Seattle Harassment Suit Winner Threatened”
Ruth A. Niemeyer has filed suit in U.S. Dist. Court in Mass. against Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am., Mass. Laborers Council, LIUNA Local 243 and boss James M. Porter, alleging sexual favors were demanded in exchange for job placements. Niemeyer is seeking $2.5 million. The 36-count, 84-page suit, filed Feb. 1, is based on claims Niemeyer made to the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. MCAD issued a probable cause ruling in Aug. on behalf of Niemeyer and an another member, Pamela J. Corey. “A probable cause ruling means there is merit to what they were claiming in the case,” said a MCAD official. Corey is considering a similar suit. Niemeyer’s suit says that between 1985-97 she was subjected to a continuing pattern and practice of gender discrimination, harassment and sexually abusive behavior. [Telegram & Gazette 2/24/99]
Ohio LIUNA Member Wins Dues Case
The Nat. Labor Relations Board ruled Feb. 23 … Read More ➡ “Member Sues Massachusetts Boss for Harassment”