Mark Durinski has repaid around half of what he stole. That helped reduce his punishment. On May 17, Durinski, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 294, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to one month in prison and three years of supervised release for making false statements in financial records of the Limestone, Maine-based union to conceal duplicate reimbursements. He had been charged last August, and subsequently pleaded guilty to three counts in September, following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Durinski, now 64, a resident of Limestone, was an employee of the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) during 1995-2014. According to prosecutors, for the last five of those years he repeatedly claimed reimbursements for travel-related union expenses he already had received from his employer. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to pay $53,544 in … Read More ➡
It took about four years for Eric Gonzalez to be caught, but justice apparently is being done. On April 13, Gonzalez, former president of a local government employees union, the Lynwood Employees Association, was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on charges of embezzling more than $27,000 from the union. He was also charged with four counts of felony grand theft. Gonzalez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment the following day and was released on his own recognizance.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Gonzalez, now 34, a civil engineering technician with the City of Lynwood (population 70,000), during 2011-12 used his position as a union official to make four unauthorized cash withdrawals from an employee association account totaling $27,735 for his own personal use. The withdrawals eventually were discovered by union board members, who then contacted the County Sheriff’s Department. If convicted, Gonzalez … Read More ➡
On May 16, Donn Pendergrass, former president of United Steelworkers Local 1191, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to one count of embezzling $33,435 in funds from the Mishawaka union. He had been indicted last December. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 24, Jeremy Leach, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 13-669, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in a superseding indictment with one count of making false statements in records of the Pryor Creek, Okla.-based union. Three days later he pleaded guilty. On May 25, his brother, Jason Leach, former local president, was charged in a similar superseding indictment. He pleaded guilty the next day. The pair had been charged in April with thefts in respective amounts of $3,111 and $2,524. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 19, Alan Shaffer, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division (formerly known as the United Transportation Union, now known as SMART), Local 792, was indicted in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas on one count of grand theft in the amount of $8,563 from the Elyria, Ohio-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Attorney-client privilege is a basic protection of liberty. Yet this Friday, people may begin to find out how little the Obama administration thinks of it. That’s when a Labor Department rule, issued in March and launched in April, fully kicks in, forcing employers to divulge the identities of outside legal help on how to avoid unionization. This “persuader rule,” as it is called, also requires such consultants to reveal their own client rosters. Union officials laud the rule as a blow for transparency and a corrective to “union-busting.” In reality, it is a power play designed to minimize the opportunities for nonunion workers to hear an employer’s side of the story during a union organizing drive. Conveniently, the regulation doesn’t apply either to unions or their consultants. As employers gear up to comply, they’ve gotten unexpected help from federal judges.
Union Corruption Update described this rule back in … Read More ➡
On April 20, Charles Nelson, former treasurer for the National Council of Security Police, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on one count of embezzling more than $140,000 in funds from the Yakima-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Assane Faye saw it as doing someone a favor. Federal prosecutors saw it as stealing. On May 10, Faye, founder, president and executive director of the United Security and Police Officers of America (USPOA), was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on two counts of embezzling more than $350,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based union and seven counts of unemployment insurance fraud. Immediately afterward, Faye was ordered by the court to relinquish his union post and remain under home confinement until sentencing. He had been indicted in March 2015 following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to court documents, Faye, now 61, born in Senegal and currently a resident of Toms River (Ocean County), N.J., placed a woman, identified as “Individual 1,” also a Senegalese national, on the USPOA payroll at … Read More ➡
On June 8, Jeffrey Velfing and John Crosby, respectively, former chief steward and former assistant steward of National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 307, each pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of embezzling funds in the amount of $6,758 from the Detroit-based union. The pair had been indicted in April. The charges and guilty pleas follow an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
On May 3, Marcella Champion, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1831, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of theft in the amount of $4,130 from the Washington, D.C.-based federal security employees union. She had been charged last November. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡