For Rick Drain, old habits die hard. And the consequences this time may include a stretch in prison. Last Monday, July 13, Drain, former business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 1085, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to one count of embezzling $50,281 in funds from the Parkersburg-based union, which represents several hundred area construction and public service workers. He had been charged in March following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. He faces up to five years in prison at sentencing this October.
According to prosecutors, Drain, now 56, a resident of Vienna (Wood County), W.Va., used his position as local business manager to divert member dues and other fees into his own pockets. He apparently had a history of this sort of thing. Back in 2009, he and the local were named … Read More ➡
On July 15, Douglas Dye, former unit chairman of United Auto Workers Local 12, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one count of embezzling $8,443 in funds from the Toledo union and one count of falsifying union financial records to conceal the thefts. The alleged offenses occurred during June 2013-April 2016. Dye had been indicted this January. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On July 16, Asenath Roland, former president of the Kansas Postal Workers Union, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to one year of probation and ordered to pay $4,740 in restitution for concealing his embezzlement of funds from the Wichita-based union. He had pleaded guilty in February after being indicted last July. The union is an affiliate of the American Postal Workers Union. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The social media-driven network of demagogues known as Black Lives Matter these past several weeks has enjoyed a groundswell of support among organized labor. A case in point is the Amalgamated Transit Union. The 200,000-member union is playing a key role in a nationwide protest today against “systemic” racism. “The ATU proudly stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who are Striking for Black Lives on July 20,” said International President John Costa. “We must dismantle the racist policies that target our communities to ensure all workers are healthy, safe and secure no matter their race, immigration status, gender, job or where they live.” This overheated and cliched declaration underscores how unions, and not just the ATU, are using member dues to subvert their duties of representation.
Today’s multi-city “Strike for Black Lives” is a joint project of civil rights and labor leaders, especially those affiliated with the Service … Read More ➡
On July 8, Amber Blake, former secretary-treasurer for International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 124, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three years of probation for making a false entry in union financial records in order to conceal her theft from the Channahon (near Joliet) union. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the sum of $34,159 ($15,000 of it due by this September 11) and a $5,000 fine. Blake had pleaded guilty in December after being charged the previous month. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. … Read More ➡
Police unions have been receiving much criticism these past couple months, and two trustees of a New York City police union benefit plan haven’t helped matters. Three days ago, July 13, Kenneth Wynder Jr., president of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with defrauding the LEEBA annuity fund of more than $500,000 following his arrest. Separately, LEEBA Treasurer Steven Whittick was charged with obstruction and making false statements in the case. Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss explained, “Today we have charged two leaders of a union that represents local law enforcement officers for engaging in criminal conduct.” The charges follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Labor Department and the City Comptroller’s Office.
At the beginning of this month, Union Corruption Update analyzed the lengths to which police unions often … Read More ➡
Workers at a pork processing plant may not have the most pleasant job in the world, but at least some of them are feeling more confident about where their union dues are going. On July 8, Keith Ludlum, former president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208, was sentenced in Raleigh federal court to 14 months in prison, and ordered to pay full restitution for conspiracy, for embezzling around $213,000 from the Tar Heel, N.C. union, which represents about 3,600 Smithfield employees in the Carolinas. He had pleaded guilty in January. The union’s former secretary-treasurer, the aptly-named Terry Slaughter, already has been sentenced for his role in the scheme. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
On June 25, Rocky Gannon, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2302, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to three counts of wire fraud and nine counts of securities forgery related to his diversion of $116,353 in funds from the union, which represents civilian personnel at Fort Knox, Ky. Gannon had been indicted last November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. … Read More ➡
When it came to embezzlement, John J. Romero wasn’t in the same league as his father. But he learned the trade and is paying the price. On June 9, Romero was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one year of home confinement, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for his role in the disappearance of nearly $800,000 from the health plan of the Colton (San Bernardino County)-based United Industrial and Service Workers of America. He, his sister and their mother each pleaded guilty in 2017 in connection with the thefts. His father, John S. Romero, union president, was convicted by a jury this February on 14 separate felony charges. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Security Benefits Administration.
Union Corruption Update has been covering the Romero saga … Read More ➡
On June 24, Sandra King, former president of the Federation of Police & Security – Alliance of Independent Workers, LLC, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland with a criminal information of one count of embezzlement in an unspecified amount from the Owings Mills (suburban Baltimore) unions. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.