Newspaper Says Big Shots on Wall Street, in Congress Still Don’t Get It

NLPC research is cited in an editorial appearing today’s edition of the Binghampton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin:

Bad habits are hard to break, but some people in America’s corporate and political worlds don’t even seem to be trying in the midst of the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. […]

New York’s Charles Rangel and five other Democratic members of the House enjoyed a trip to the Caribbean sponsored in part by Citigroup (see above) in November – after Congress had approved the $700 bailout for financial firms (including Citigroup).

The members no doubt will object to the terms “junket,” but that shoe fits. The National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group, has asked Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to investigate the Nov. 6-9 excursion to the island of St. Maarten.

It was called the Caribbean Multi-Cultural Business Conference, but

Read More ➡

In the News: Obama Insists Ex-Lobbyists Don’t Undermine Ethics Policies

NLPC chairman Ken Boehm is cited in a CNSNews.com story about the number of former lobbyists that are being hired to work in the Barack Obama White House:

The Obama administration is defending its commitment to strict ethical policies even after appointing lobbyists to key posts.
 
Mark Patterson, a former lobbyist with the financial firm Goldman Sachs, will be chief of staff for newly appointed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, according to the National Journal.
 
The news comes a week after some government watchdog groups objected to the nomination of William J. Lynn III, a former Raytheon Company lobbyist, to be deputy secretary at the Department of Defense.
 
“There is no question that the policy is right out of step when you get to make exceptions for major departments like Defense and Treasury,” Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, told CNSNews.com.
 
“It cuts

Read More ➡

TARP Inspector General Asked to Investigate Citigroup and Bank of America Donations to Rainbow/PUSH

Today the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) asked Neil M. Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), for a formal review of the sponsorship by Bank of America and Citigroup of the Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Conference currently taking place in New York City. The January 13-16 event is one of two of Jesse Jackson’s annual fundraisers.

According to official conference materials, Citigroup is a “Gold Sponsor,” a designation costing $50,000. Bank of America is identified as a “Silver Sponsor,” a designation costing $30,000.

Both Citigroup and Bank of America are major recipients of TARP funds. Taxpayers are now Citigroup’s largest shareholder after infusions of $45 billion. Bank of America has already received $25 billion. According to today’s Wall Street Journal, it is seeking billions more in order to make possible its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

NLPC’s Complaint reads, in part:

“When the TARP was … Read More ➡

Former Secretary-Treasurer of St. Louis AFGE Local Sentenced

Edna Latimore is a familiar story:  a union official stealing from the till to pay off gambling losses.  On October 30, Latimore, formerly secretary-treasurer of Local 900 of the American Federation of Government Employees, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to six months home detention and three years probation, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $77,857.26.  She had been charged in August with making false statements in the St. Louis union’s annual financial reporting form in order to disguise payments she had made to herself. 

Latimore, 41, a resident of Ferguson, Mo., served as the local treasurer from January 2006 until April 2007.  She pleaded guilty in August to making scores of unauthorized withdrawals with her union ATM card, mainly at area casinos, and then hiding the losses by understating amounts on Labor Department reporting forms.  When the losses Read More ➡

Philadelphia President, Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

On October 23 and 24, Lawrence Marable and Deborah Powell, respectively, former president and treasurer of Local 1793 of the American Federation of Government Employees, were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for thefts from the Philadelphia union totaling $184,129.85.  Marable will serve 18 months in prison to be followed by three years of probation; Powell will serve a year in prison to be followed by two years of probation.  Prosecutors had charged that the pair conspired to convert dues checks and issue local expense checks to their own use.  Each was held separately liable for restitution.  The sentences follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.  (OLMS, 11/21/08).  Read More ➡

Former Cleveland Local Secretary-Treasurer Indicted for Theft

On November 13, Willie Harris, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2823 in Cleveland, was indicted in the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio for theft exceeding $5,000, misuse of a credit card, and unauthorized access to a computer.  The local represents employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  (OLMS, 11/21/08).

 

Ex-Administrator Sentenced for Role in Royalties Fraud Scheme

On November 10, Michelle Trinh, former assistant administrator of the Writers Guild of America-West Foreign Levies Fund, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to five years probation and 100 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $17,228 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.  She had been charged in February with embezzlement by naming an accomplice, Tracy Howze, as the beneficiary of the union’s foreign levies fund.  She then wrote union checks Read More ➡

NYC Local Teamster Dissidents Allege $18 Million Health Fund Loss

HOFFA SMITIt could be a case of miscalculation, a bad contract, or a king-sized rip-off.  Either way, a faction of dissenters within a major New York City local of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters wants some answers.  A report put together by Local 804 Members United, a network of union employees of United Parcel Service (UPS), revealed in June that during 2003-07 the local health fund lost nearly $18 million, a figure representing more than half of all plan assets.  Union officials, they charge, colluded with UPS management to divert this money to the union pension plan, while hiking member health care co-payments. “It’s totally irresponsible how they let these reserves disappear,” said Pete Mastrandrea, a Teamster driver.  “It’s inexcusable how they’ve managed these funds, and they need to answer to the membership for it.”

 

Teamsters Local 804 has around 7,500 rank-and-file members, and is based in the Long Island CityRead More ➡

Ohio Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for Thefts, False Entries

On July 10, Betty Illig, former secretary-treasurer for Graphic Communications International Union Local 638-S and the Tri-State District Joint Council, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to serve five years supervised release, one year of which must be spent in home confinement, serve 200 hours of community service, and pay $145,675 in restitution for embezzling union funds and submitting false records.  She pleaded guilty in February.  The local is located in East Liverpool, south of Youngstown.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.  (OLMS, 7/16/08). 

 

Bookkeeper for Houston Local Sentenced for Embezzlement

On July 7, Heather Lott, former bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 19 in Houston, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 18 Read More ➡

Business Agent of Insulators Local in New Jersey Pleads Guilty to $800K+ in Thefts

heat-and-frost-insulators_0John DaBronzo had a gambling problem.  Unfortunately, he made it his union’s problem as well.  His inability to keep the two worlds separate is why he’s now contemplating the possibility of a future in federal prison.  DaBronzo from 1989 to 2007 had served as business agent for Local 89 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos (or Allied) Workers.  During the last couple years of his tenure, charged prosecutors, he pilfered some $829,000 from the union, which represents insulation workers in the Trenton and Atlantic City, N.J. areas.  Asked by U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano where the money went, DaBronzo replied that he’d gambled it away.  DaBronzo pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement, each of which carries a sentence of up to five years, plus a $250,000 fine.  He’s free on bond until his September 16 sentencing.

 

A resident of Hamilton Square, N.J.Read More ➡