A prominent Toronto boss was beaten Jan. 29 by four or five men armed with metal bars in a daylight attack that left him with a broken arm and a gash in his head. The victim was John Stefanini, the executive director of the Residential Alliance of Building Trade Unions and ex-boss of the Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am. Local 183. A witness said moaning outside his window turned into cries for help and that Stefanini’s “head was cracked right open.” Police are looking into labor-related motives. “It’s vigilantism at its best and we would like to have it stopped,” said a police detective.
Stefanini, who lost consciousness after the beating, later refused to speculate about the attack. “I prefer not to make any comment. There’s a police investigation and I’ll leave it to them,” he said. While at LIUNA, Stefanini was also the subject of violence. FBI informant … Read More ➡
William S. Demboski Jr., an ex-secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers of Am. Local 01-2-L in Akron, was charged Jan. 22 with embezzling $316,000 in union funds. The U.S. Atty.’s office accused Demboski — from Uniontown, Ohio — with writing 302 unauthorized union checks from 1993-97, including 231 totaling $195,000 directly to himself. The remaining checks were to a bank, a country club and credit card companies to allegedly pay for his personal expenses. Demboski was charged in U.S. Dist. Court with one count of embezzlement and one count of making false entries in union records. He faces 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges resulted from a U.S. Dep’t of Labor investigation. [Plain Dealer 1/23/99]… Read More ➡
Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union president John W. Wilhelm was singled out for unethical behavior by American Indians at a Jan. 7 hearing of the Nat. Gaming Impact Study Commission (NGISC) in Seattle. Indians, led by S. Timothy Wapato of the Nat. Indian Gaming Ass’n, blasted Wilhelm for his unseemly conflict-of-interest: being a NGISC Commissioner and at the same time the top boss of a union that is sure to benefit from any new restrictions or regulations on Indian gaming that come out of the impending NGISC report to Congress.
Wapato demanded Wilhelm disqualify himself from the NGISC due to his “personal agenda.” Wapato pointed to HERE’s active role in opposing Cal.’s Prop 5 that was favorable to Indian gaming. Wilhelm’s union filed an amicus brief with anti-Prop 5 forces in litigation to test the proposition’s constitutionality. Jerry Levine, attorney representing various tribes, said Wilhelm was not fit … Read More ➡
James P. Hoffa’s victory as Teamsters president was cleared for certification Jan. 28 by Michael G. Cherkasky, the court-appointed election monitor, after a delay due corruption charges against Hoffa slate members. But Cherkasky did bar Hoffa running mate J.D. Potter of Tex. from assuming his vice-president seat on the Teamsters board. Potter was charged with with lying about breaking donation limits. Union rules limited Potter to giving $5,000 to Hoffa’s campaign, and he said that an additional $5,000 he gave came from other members. He also claimed that the original bills (U.S. dollars) they gave him were still in his car, and he produced $4,700 in cash from his trunk. But 13 of the bills were not in circulation at the time he claimed to have collected them. [A.P. 1/28/99]
Buffalo Boss’ Libel Suit Dismissed
Teamsters Local 449 boss Bruce W. LeRoy’s $200,000 libel suit against his local dissidents … Read More ➡
Bill Clinton appointed C. Richard Barnes, an ex-Laborer’s Int’l Union of No. Am. business manager, as director of the Fed. Mediation & Conciliation Service on Jan. 14. FMCS assists unions in resolving contract disputes and doles out federal training grants to unions. In addition to being a top boss from one of America’s most corrupt unions, Barnes has a tainted past of his own. In 1982, a Ga. jury returned a verdict against Barnes and two other LIUNA bosses for illegal strike activity, including violence and vandalism against property. The jury awarded the employer $263,166, but Barnes got off on a technicality. Georgia Kraft Co. v. LIUNA Local Union 246, 317 S.E.2d 602 (Ga. Ct. App. 1984). As FMCS deputy director, Barnes was a key player in the Teamsters’ controversial victory over UPS in 1997.
Spy, Union Radical Sentenced
Int’l union activist and his ex-Pentagon-attorney wife were sentenced Jan. … Read More ➡
According to the Nat. Right to Work Foundation, Teamsters Local 473 along with the Akron Beacon-Journal illegally told a newspaper employee he would be fired for refusing to join the union. In an effort to head off the illegal action and save the worker’s job, NRTWF attorneys filed federal labor charges Jan. 26 and sought a federal injunction. NRTWF’s charges detail blatantly illegal conduct by Teamsters bosses in forcing Roderic Paulk to become a full, formal member of the union as a condition of employment and to pay full union dues. “Mr. Paulk is being railroaded for the crime of exercising his right to say ‘No’ to union bosses and their politics,” said NRTWF spokesman Stefan Gleason. Under numerous U.S. Supreme Court precedents and Nat. Labor Relation Board decisions — including the NRTWF-won Communication Workers of Am. v. Beck — employees may not be forced to become full members of … Read More ➡
Top Texas AFL-CIO bosses blasted a bill introduced in the Tex. legislature to hold unions more accountable to members and increase member’s freedom in choosing how their dues are spent. State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran’s (R) bill would require unions to obtain annual written permission from every member to use their dues for political purposes. The measure would create a simple membership renewal card that would allow members to indicate their desire to have dues used for political purposes. The best excuse Texas AFL-CIO boss Ed Sills could come up with to justify his anti-freedom position is that the postcards would be a “giant, new administrative burden.” If the bill passes, violating the law would be a misdemeanor and bosses would be liable up to $1,000 per violation. [Houston Chronicle 1/6/99]… Read More ➡
On Jan. 8, the U.S. Dep’t of Justice and the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am. announced the second one-year extension of the controversial 1995 Operating Agreement that resulted from DOJ’s 1994 draft RICO complaint. The Agreement is now scheduled to terminate Jan. 31, 2000. The National Legal and Policy Center, a union corruption watchdog, reiterated its previous demands that DOJ: 1) remove Arthur A. Coia as LIUNA General President, 2) replace Robert D. Luskin as LIUNA’s “in-house prosecutor,” and 3) impose the full terms of the pending Consent Decree thereby allowing court-appointed officials to clean up LIUNA and stopping LIUNA from “cleaning up itself.”
“The so-called LIUNA ‘internal reform effort’ is a failure. DOJ has placed a great deal of trust in the independence and effectiveness of the ‘internal reform effort,’ but the fact is Luskin and the ‘reform’ team are not independent and are not as effective as … Read More ➡
James E. Jackson, ex-boss of the Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 45 in Hollywood, pled guilty Jan. 14 to 6 felony counts of embezzling union funds. He admitted to using the union’s credit cards for unauthorized purposes from 1994-97. Jackson said he charged $1,200 to IBEW to pay for repair work done on his Mercedes-Benz and spent another $1,207 for a Caribbean cruise. He also had the union pay for auto maintenance and insurance and for his adult daughter’s health insurance. Jackson was indicted in Aug. 1998 after a U.S. Dep’t of Labor probe. He will be sentenced Mar. 29. Prosecutors intend to argue at sentencing that the union’s loss was about $280,000. Jackson maintains it was under $41,000. [Hollywood Reporter 1/15/99]
DOL Targets Chicago Local
The U.S. Dep’t of Labor has filed suit against IBEW Local 134 in Chicago, seeking to void the 1998 election of a … Read More ➡
U.S. Dist. Court-appointed Election Officer Michael Cherkasky has delayed certifying James P. Hoffa’s Teamsters presidency due to a protest filed by his opponent Tom Leedham. Leedham contends Hoffa and four vice-presidents elected are guilty of violating the union’s rules and should be barred from office. J.D. Potter of Tex. was charged by the union’s Independent Review Board with lying about contributions to Hoffa’s campaign. James Santangelo of Cal. was accused of wrongly receiving money from a union severance fund. Donato DeSanti of N.J. was accused of associating with a barred member. Thomas O’Donnell of N.Y. was charged with filing a false campaign report concealing a convicted felon on the payroll. The delay means bosses loyal to the corrupt ex-president Ron Carey remain entrenched in the union’s “Marble Palace” in D.C. The D.C. monthly payroll is over $2 million. [Detroit News 1/12/99]
Indicted Kentucky Boss Retires
Lon Fields, Sr., retired … Read More ➡