Mob-Connected Chicago Union Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

John Matassa Jr.’s biggest mistake was trying to qualify for an early retirement. He now is qualified for prison. On February 26, Matassa, former secretary-treasurer of Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of embezzling $738 in union funds, far below what he actually had stolen from the union and the government. He had been indicted in May 2017 on 10 counts related to his creating a no-show union job for his wife and collecting Social Security benefits for himself. Matassa for decades has been a reputed “made man” in the Chicago mob. The plea deal calls for 15 to 21 months in prison, plus $66,500 in restitution. The actions follow a probe by the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

John “Pudgy” Matassa Jr., … Read More ➡

UAW Local President in Illinois Sentenced for Embezzlement

On February 25, Anthony Edmunds, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2419, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to three years of probation and one year of home confinement for embezzling $19,482 in funds from the Danville, Ill. union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment. Edmunds had pleaded guilty last October after being indicted in December 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-New York Teamster Official Charged with Taking Bribes from Benefit Administrator

John Ulrich may have seen the arrangement as a business deal, but federal prosecutors see it as a crime. On February 21, Ulrich, formerly vice president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812, was indicted in Manhattan federal court with soliciting and receiving tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from an unnamed administrator for the health plan of the Great Neck (Long Island), N.Y.-based union in return for retaining that company as a client. Ulrich, who was a plan trustee as well as a union officer, had been arrested earlier that day. He pleaded not guilty, and was released on $100,000 bond. The indictment follows a joint probe by the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Teamsters Local 812 represents about 3,000 soft drink and brewery workers in the New York City metropolitan area. John Ulrich, now … Read More ➡

Former AFGE President in Wisconsin Charged with Theft

On February 20, David Dauman, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3495, was charged in Adams County, Wisconsin Circuit Court with one count of stealing $3,597 from the Oxford, Wisc.-based union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Local Secretary in Oklahoma Pleads Guilty to Theft

On February 14, Christy Coppin, former office secretary of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2250, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to one count of theft in the amount of $52,738 from the Muskogee union, which represents employees at the VA Hospital in that city. She had been indicted in January. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Trustee of Stage Employees Local in Massachusetts Charged with Theft

On February 11, Darius Pourfarzaneh, former trustee of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 935B, was charged in Worcester District Court with one count of larceny in the amount of $6,870 from the Worcester union, which represents employees of the arena facility in that city. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Local Plumbers Employee in Texas Indicted for Theft

On February 6, Karen Pierce, a former office employee of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 142, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on eight counts of theft of funds in an unspecified amount from the San Antonio-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

IATSE Secretary-Treasurer in Virginia Sentenced for Embezzlement

On February 8, Christopher Mulhall, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to five months of home detention and 36 months of probation for wire fraud and embezzlement against the Hampton-based union in the sum of $57,310. He already has paid full restitution. Mulhall had pleaded guilty late last May after being charged earlier that month. The case has ensnared a number of top people in the union. In January, former President Benjamin Wisecarver pleaded guilty to wire fraud. And last November, husband and wife Dennis and Dorian Nicely, respectively, former local vice president and former business agent, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Another Los Angeles Teacher Sues Union, School District Over Forced Dues

Members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) this January returned to work following a six-day strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District. But as that battle was ending, a more significant one was being launched. On January 22, Irene Seager, a teacher in Los Angeles’ Porter Ranch area, filed suit in federal court against the union and the school district challenging the union’s authority to limit dues opt-outs by dissenting employees to an annual window of just 30 days. Seager also wants a refund of dues she already paid. Unlike a more expansive suit filed against the union and the school district months ago by another teacher, Thomas Few, this one seeks class-action status. The case is part of a growing number of public-sector employee suits in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Janus ruling last June.

As Union Corruption Update has explained (here and … Read More ➡

Maryland Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribing, Defrauding Virginia Union

Howard Janoske obtained business on the principle that every man has his price. Now he’s likely to pay a different kind of price. On March 1, Janoske, president of an unnamed Maryland-based plumbing and HVAC contractor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to honest services fraud, theft and embezzlement in providing an official of an unnamed Virginia-based labor union with extensive kickbacks over a three-year period in return for receiving preference for union contracts. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12. The plea follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, Howard Janoske, now 74, a resident of Oakland, Maryland (in the westernmost portion of the state), entered into an illegal quid pro quo agreement with the facilities and real estate manager of an unnamed large international union based in … Read More ➡