Court Upholds DOL Reporting Requirements for Union Lawyers

What union lawyers say to their clients in private is off the record.  But how much they bill them, and for what services, is a different story.  That was the view conveyed on May 5 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in a case that grew out of the convictions nearly a half-decade ago of several key members of the United Transportation Union (UTU).  In the new case, Warshauer v. Chao, the court ruled that the union’s designated legal counsel must file an “LM-10” employer financial report with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  As an employer, the counsel provides money or other things of value to the union, and thus is subject to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, also known as LMRDA or the Landrum-Griffin Act.  In addition to filing an LM-10, this lawyer has other Read More ➡

Ex-Local Leader in Los Angeles Gets Probation for Theft

Janett Humphries isn’t in the best of health these days, something that a federal judge in Los Angeles likely took into account at sentencing time. Humphries, 63, pleaded guilty last November to one count of conspiracy and three counts of embezzlement for diverting about $36,000 from her union, Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District. U.S. District Judge Manuel Real on May 14 gave five years’ probation, and ordered her to pay $5,149 in restitution, pay a $500 special assessment, and perform 1,000 hours of community service. Humphries’ lawyer Ricardo Torres II, pleading for leniency, stated that his client has Alzheimer’s disease and recently suffered a stroke. 

Humphries diverted SEIU Local 99 funds to pay for about $33,000 in wages to more than a half-dozen persons who worked on the 2003 Los Angeles City Council campaign of labor leader Read More ➡

Boston Local Defends Convicted Brother of Fugitive Mobster

teamsters-logoJohn “Jackie” Bulger has the distinction of being both a former court probation officer and an ex-con. He’d been convicted of perjury in the face of the FBI’s hunt for his infamous older brother, James “Whitey” Bulger. He’s the kind of guy, in other words, who could use an image makeover and a new job. And perhaps no organization is in a better position to provide both than Local 82 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Boston. Local boss John Perry sometime last year hired Jackie Bulger to do construction work at the convention center going up in South Boston. “Southie,” still heavily ethnic Irish, is Bulger territory – and now the focal point of a power struggle within the local. Perry supporters have expressed their position by circulating a rather menacing flier.

 

Whitey Bulger, born in 1929, isn’t your usual criminal on the lam. He’s been on the Read More ➡

Unions, Business, Ethnic Activists Seek Immigration Expansion

The new Democratic-controlled Congress has brought a fresh “to-do” issue list.  And with the exception of the war in Iraq, arguably no issue ranks higher on the lawmakers’ agenda than immigration reform.  “Reform,” however, is a highly fungible term.  Too often, it means perpetuating, and even expanding, Third World mass immigration – the very thing that led to the cries for reform in the first place.  Opinion polls this decade repeatedly indicate most Americans want more restrictions placed on immigration, and not because they are “anti-immigrant,” but because they believe the nation needs a breather from the consequences of high levels of immigration, especially by ethnic groups whose leaders often are avowedly hostile to assimilation.  But the pressure that citizens exert on Congress tends to be less pronounced than that exerted by interest groups with a stake in maintaining a high flow of immigrants, legal or not.  Last year, a Read More ➡

Colombo Cousin Dies, Leaves Heavy Unpaid Debt from Swindles

colombo-crime-family-wise-guysIn his extended family, Frank Persico was the smart one.  A college graduate and computer-savvy Wall Street stockbroker, he knew how to make money for clients, especially when those clients were members and associates of New York City’s Colombo crime family.  That acting Colombo boss Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico was a cousin didn’t hurt his career.  Now that career has been fatally cut short.  This November, Frank Persico, 43, died of a heart attack, leaving behind more than $15 million in unpaid penalties from the many stock swindles he engineered years before.  The take from those $50 million or more in scams could have been a lot higher had he gained unfettered access to the $50 million pension fund of Local 400 of the Industrial & Production Workers Union where he had served as treasurer.   

Persico was among 120 persons across the U.S. arrested by federal agents in Read More ➡

Buffalo, N.Y. Ex-Local President Sentenced for Thefts

Mark Jones was a full-time union leader in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, serving as president of Local 92 of the American Federation of Musicians and secretary-treasurer of the New York State Conference of Musicians.  Unfortunately, he also was a part-time thief, embezzling a combined $75,000 from the two organizations during 2002-05.  On November 28, Jones, 48, was sentenced in federal court to two years probation and six months community service.  He had pleaded guilty back in July to stealing $40,738.17 from Local 92 and $34,672 from the state conference.  He since has made full restitution.  An audit by the Department of Labor turned up a pattern of irregularities, which in turn triggered a criminal investigation.  Jones also had been a board member of the Musicians International Union and, for a year, head of the Buffalo AFL-CIO Labor Council.  He resigned from the latter Read More ➡

Former President of Los Angeles Union Pleads Not Guilty

Janett Humphries, the former Service Employees International Union official in Los Angeles accused of embezzlement and perjury, has pleaded not guilty.  She’s facing a pair of court visits on federal and local charges.  As president of SEIU Local 99 during 2002-03, Humphries allegedly stole more than $80,000 in union funds.  Well over $30,000 of that money went for the election campaign of former Los Angeles City Councilman Martin Ludlow under the listing of payroll and cell phone expenses.  She also embezzled union funds for travel expenses for children and friends.  Humphries is scheduled for trial in the federal case July 25; she’s due back to face local charges on August 16.  Ludlow already has pleaded guilty in federal court for his participation in the scheme, and in June received five years probation, and was ordered to serve 2,000 hours of community service and make Read More ➡

San Diego Union-Trib Scores Cozy Pension Deal for Union Bosses

In a vote that was scarcely noticed at the time but today is drawing scrutiny from federal investigators, the City Council quietly approved extraordinary retirement benefits for three politically powerful individuals — the presidents of the police union, the firefighters union and the white-collar workers union. All three are current or former city employees and vested in the municipal pension system.

 

Under this highly irregular arrangement, the union chiefs were allowed to add their union salaries to their city salaries in calculating their retirement benefits, thus substantially boosting their taxpayer-financed pensions. This unique perk, extended exclusively to the three incumbent union leaders, but not to their successors, will cost taxpayers $2 million, according to an estimate by Michael Conger, a Rancho Santa Fe lawyer who has successfully sued the city on other pension matters.

 

At best, the cozy deal worked out for the union presidents was a grossly Read More ➡

NLPC Pres. Comments on IBT Ethics Controversy

From an op-ed published nationwide, by NLPC president Peter Flaherty…

Organized labor was an undisputed election day loser, but John Kerry’s defeat was a particular blow to Teamsters chief Jim Hoffa. For Hoffa…It was about getting the 1.3 million-member Teamsters out from under federal government oversight, in place since 1989.

 

The stakes for Hoffa were so high because of a burgeoning controversy that exploded with the April 28 resignation of Edwin Stier, the former federal prosecutor hired by the Teamsters to clean up the union. Stier charged that Hoffa had “backed away” and “inexplicably retreated” from anticorruption efforts.

 

…[Now] the Teamsters are refusing to release Stier’s 303-page report on the six locals…Stier asserted that he encountered “active resistance” from Hoffa’s office in investigating these allegations.  In 1999, the Teamsters established an internal reform program and hired Stier.  It was a way of staving off more serious Read More ➡

Charges, Counter-Charges, among Lawyers Delay DC Teacher Union Trial

Nearly a year after the indictments of four people on charges stemming from an embezzlement scandal at the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), the case remains mired in pretrial arguments and allegations about the conduct of lawyers.  The legal skirmishing is the latest twist in a case that has moved slowly since the discovery more than two years ago that millions of dollars were missing from the union. 

 

Disgraced former WTU president Barbara Bullock has already pled guilty to embezzlement and is serving a 9-year prison term.  But according to the Washington Post, lawyers involved in the case are predicting that the trial of the remaining defendants may not start until the middle or end of 2005.  The defendants include former union officials Gwendolyn M. Hemphill and James O. Baxter II and accountants James A. Goosby Jr. and Robin Klein.

 

Attorneys for the defense Read More ➡