Carpenters Union Bolt AFL-CIO

In a sharp slap in the face to AFL-CIO bosses John J. Sweeney and Richard L. Trumka the United Bhd. of Carpenters pulled out of the federation on Mar. 29. A continued affiliation with AFL-CIO not only was a distraction for UBC, said UBC boss Douglas J. McCarron, but an impediment. McCarron said UBC needs flexibility to work with both parties, he said, noting that “a lot of our members are Republicans.”

McCarron had been threatening to break away for more than two years. He has told AFL-CIO leaders and his members that Sweeney is wasting carpenters’ dues money on a bureaucracy of hundreds of officials that AFL-CIO has hired since Sweeney and Trumka took over in 1995. In a strong letter to Sweeney, McCarron wrote: “After five years I have seen nothing to indicate the AFL-CIO is seriously considering changes that would cure [Sweeney’s inability to make fundamental changes], … Read More ➡

Ohio Local Settles DOL Suit with New Election

Int’l Union of Electronic Workers Local 801 in Moraine, Ohio, has agreed to hold a new election for officers under the supervision of the Dep’t of Labor in Nov. The agreement, approved Jan. 23 by U.S. Dist. Chief Judge Walter H. Rice, was reached in a lawsuit filed by DOL in Sept. 1999 accusing Local 801 of using money to promote a slate of candidates headed by Bob Sparks, Local 801’s president. Sparks said he was not the president at the time of the election and had nothing to do with handbills distributed at the time. At the time of the election, Local 801 was in trusteeship, after the IUE’s int’l bosses split the local and created Local 798 at after several months of turmoil. Rice’s court will retain jurisdiction until the DOL certifies the election was held in accordance with the union’s constitution and federal labor law. [Dayton Daily … Read More ➡

Boss Wilhelm Defends Chicago Trusteeship

Just before a hearing focusing on the trusteeship imposed on Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 1 in Chicago, HERE boss John Wilhelm justified his actions. In a Mar. 13 statement, Wilhelm alleged financial and managerial deficiencies with Local 1, which for decades had been HERE’s flagship. Wilhelm pointed to a sharp decline in union representation in Chicago and substandard wages and contractual protections for Local 1 members. In large part, however, Wilhelm’s statement focused on reckless spending and financial mismanagement by local bosses.

Wilhelm’s press release come one day before HERE conducts a hearing on the trusteeship. The hearing, scheduled for Mar. 14-16, was ordered by the Dep’t of Labor’s Office of Labor Mgmt. Standards. After probing the legality of the trusteeship, OLMS concluded that HERE, “had an allowable purpose for imposing the trusteeship,” but had failed to hold a hearing to justify its actions with members … Read More ➡

Coia Suspended From Law Practice in Rhode Island

Arthur A. Coia, ex-boss of the Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am., was suspended from the practice of law for two years by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in an opinion dated Nov. 20 because he engaged in “a serious crime involving dishonesty.” The court declined to issue a lesser penalty that Coia requested–a public censure that would have meant no interruption of his license to practice law. The suspension stems from a Coia’s guilty plea in Jan. 2000 to a criminal charge of tax fraud associated with the purchase of three Ferraris. Coia was sentenced to two years probation, ordered to pay restitution of nearly $100,000, and subjected to a $10,000 fine.

The court said while Coia’s conviction does not involve any actions in his capacity as an attorney, it expects “that all attorneys in this state shall at all times comport themselves in accordance with state and federal … Read More ➡

Ex-Ohio AFSCME Boss Indicted for Theft

James R. English, ex-president of Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees Local 3895 in Lake County, Ohio, was indicted Sept. 8 on theft charges of cashing checks totaling $1,900 at without proper authorization in Feb. 2000. The local has since disbanded and its corrections officers are now members of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Ass’n.

Lake County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy William Crosier said English was notified Sept. 13 that he faces a disciplinary hearing. The notice said the sheriff intends to fire English for theft, dishonesty and conduct unbecoming a corrections officer in violation of disciplinary rules.

According to investigators, a union official went to the bank to remove the AFSCME funds and transfer them to the new union’s coffers and discovered the missing funds. He alerted the union and the Sheriff’s Department. Investigators said English used some of the union money to pay rent.

English pleaded not guilty … Read More ➡

Jury Convicts Boxing Boss in New Jersey

On Aug. 17, a federal jury in N.J. found Robert “Bob” Lee, Sr., ex-boss and founder of the Int’l Boxing Fed’n, guilty on six counts of union corruption. He faces 37 to 46 months in jail for convictions on three counts of racketeering, two counts of tax evasion and one count of money laundering.

U.S. Atty. for N.J., Robert J. Cleary, charged Lee with taking $338,000 in bribes from promoters and managers to fix rankings and sanction fights. The jury, found Lee guilty in his dealings with Francisco Fernandez of Colombia, the IBF’s S. Am. representative. Lee was acquitted on charges of improper payments to him by promoters Bob Arum, Cedric Kushner and Dino Duva.

Federal prosecutors continue their civil case against Lee and his son Robert, Jr., in which they are seeking a permanent injunction to keep the Lees from any involvement in the IBF and attempting to recover … Read More ➡

Pension Funds Sued for Self-Dealing

Three retired carpenters — Horacio Grana, Phillip R. Helsius, and Walter J. Sprenger —  filed a suit Jan. 14 seeking the removal of penion plan directors and advisors for alleged self-dealing and other ERISA violations.  The federal suit charged that Douglas McCarron, UBC president, and other directors of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for S. Cal. and the UBC Pension Fund authorized imprudent investments into entities owned or controlled by the plans’ advisor, Richard C. Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.).

The plaintiffs seek a court order allowing them to recover documents relating to the investments from the two funds; removal of both plans’ trustees and Blum; a prohibition against the defendants from using plan assets to defend themselves; and, all allowable statutory and compensatory damages.

Investments were allegedly made to protect McCarron and others’ holdings in Perini Corp., a financially ailing construction company. Hundreds of millions of dollars … Read More ➡

Las Vegas Boss under Attack

Unidentified dissident members of the Clark County Education Ass’n in Nevada have recently circulated bulletins under the name the Committee to Impeach Sue Strand. Strand is the top boss of CCEA. They accuse Strand of greed and utter incompetence.

One bulletin focused on Strand’s apparent indifference to union corruption. It quotes some of her published statements from recent years when she was asked about the embezzlement charges against ex-CCEA director Steve Confer in Indiana, Strand dismissed it as “just a silly issue.”  Confer pled guilty to union embezzlement on July 26.

Another bulletin went after the boss’ salary. “Members got a 1 percent raise and no increase in their benefits, but their president got an 11.6 percent increase,” states one bulletin. That raise would hike Strand’s compensation package from $100,566 to $112,238. By contrast, a beginning teacher makes $26,060. [Las Vegas Rev.-J. 10/28/99]

Workers Loose Libel Case against Union
The … Read More ➡

New Jersey Bosses Indicted for Kickbacks

A federal indictment unsealed Oct. 20 charges a father and son who run a local of a Nat’l Union of Healthcare & Hosp. Employees with taking $200,000 in kickbacks from a contractor hired to renovate the union’s headquarters in Newark. Victor Garcia, president of NUHHE Dist. 1199J and his son, Victor Garcia, Jr., the assistant executive director of the union’s pension fund, were charged in the Oct. 13 indictment. The local is a part of the Am. Fed’n of State, County & Municipal Employees The U.S. Atty. for N.J.  Faith S. Hochberg alleges that the two bosses accepted the money from 1994-97, in exchange for awarding the contractor $5 million in contracts for work on the building.

To retain the renovation contract, the contractor — in addition to the kickbacks — also allegedly gave the bosses jewelry and other gifts and about $25,000 in free improvements to the bosses’ residences. … Read More ➡

Louisiana Boss Fired for Wrongful Politicking

The St. Tammany Fire Protection District (La.) board voted 3-1 Mar. 9 to fire Slidell Firefighters Ass’n boss Terrel Noland for illegal political activities by a civil servant. The District found Noland guilty of influence-peddling in the 1998 Slidell City Council elections. Louisiana law allows union officials who also are under civil service to have a right to speak and take certain actions on behalf of the union. But Noland allegedly offered several council candidates union financial and political support in exchange for agreeing to appoint someone new to one or both of the two board slots appointed by the council. Noland denied making any quid pro quo offers. [Times-Picayune 3/10/99]

Massachusetts AFL-CIO Pulls Plug on Buffalo’s Propaganda Radio
The radio program, “Prospering in America,” a union-funded, far-left radio program lost its funding Mar. 5, ending a 6-year run on WHTT-FM in Buffalo. The union show was forced to close … Read More ➡