Thomas Popillo is a good example of what happens to a union when one person has total control over its finances. On August 7, Popillo, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 81266, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $37,568.68 from the union, which represents employees at the Fenn metal forming machinery plant in Newington. He was released on a $25,000 bond pending sentencing. The plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Popillo, now 61, a resident of Newington, headed the 90-member CWA Local 81266 during 2003-17, also serving as its secretary-treasurer during 2003-15. In effect, he enjoyed no oversight. That gave him a virtual license to steal. And he used that license frequently. According to prosecutors, he wrote unauthorized checks to himself from a union bank account and made … Read More ➡
As the fortunes of Chicago-area former Teamster leader John T. Coli Sr. continue to crumble, an overlapping story has emerged. On August 2, Illinois Democratic State Senator Tom Cullerton was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with 40 counts of embezzlement and one count of making a false statement following an indictment by a grand jury. For three years, Cullerton, while working as an organizer for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 734, allegedly received nearly $275,000 in salary and benefits from the Chicago union for doing “little or no work.” Teamsters Joint Council 25, then headed by Coli, had approved the job assignment back in 2013. On August 16, Cullerton pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The indictment of Tom Cullerton (in photo) is an outgrowth of charges against John Coli Sr., who for 25 years was the dominant Teamster official in the Chicago area. … Read More ➡
For a half-dozen years, Dana Pullman (in photo) headed a union representing law enforcement officers. He’s now become acquainted with law enforcement in a very different way. Two days ago, on August 21, Pullman, former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, was arrested at his home and then charged in Boston federal court with wire fraud, honest services fraud and obstruction in connection with the misuse of an estimated $75,000 in funds from the Boston-based union. A now-retired state lobbyist, Anne Lynch, also was arrested and charged. Pullman’s attorney, Martin Weinberg, says his client denies all charges and “never acted in a manner that compromised his loyalty to his union.” Each defendant has been released on a $25,000 bond. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI and the IRS.
Dana Pullman, now 57, a resident of Worcester, headed the more than 1,500-member State Police Association of … Read More ➡
Public agencies shouldn’t be in the business of coercion on behalf of a private-sector union. Apparently, that principle didn’t faze Kenneth Brissette or Timothy Sullivan. On August 7, Brissette and Sullivan, respectively, director of tourism, sports and entertainment and director of intergovernmental affairs for the City of Boston, were convicted of extortion by a jury following a two-week trial in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against a concert promoter with the intent of forcing the promoter to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11. The pair had been hit with superseding indictments in June 2016 following a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
The saga has its roots in the summer of 2014. The “Boston Calling” music festival had been scheduled for that September at City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston. An established concert … Read More ➡
Even for the mob, union shakedowns can’t go on forever. On July 19, Vincent Esposito, an enforcer for the Genovese crime family, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for racketeering conspiracy related to funds he extorted from the Brooklyn-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2D over a more than 15-year period. He also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine, over $3.8 million in asset forfeiture and restitution in an undetermined sum. Ex-local Secretary-Treasurer Vincent D’Acunto Jr. already pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. Esposito pleaded guilty in April after being indicted in January 2018. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the NYPD and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Esposito, currently in his early 50s, was the love child of the late Genovese family boss of all bosses, Vincent … Read More ➡
For years, Rhondalyn Cornett stole from dues-paying teachers. She’s now getting an unexpected lesson in humility. On July 22, Cornett, former president of the Indianapolis Education Association (IEA), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with one count of wire fraud in a scheme in which she embezzled more than $100,000 from the union, an affiliate of the Indiana State Teachers Association and the National Education Association. She then pleaded guilty. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and Indianapolis metro police.
Rhondalyn Cornett, now 54, a resident of Indianapolis, served as president of the union during November 2013-November 2018. She also had a couple of lucrative side hustles. According to prosecutors, Cornett wrote checks to herself from a union bank account and used a union debit card in … Read More ➡
John T. Coli Sr. has a saying: “Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.” He’s kind of feeling like a hog now. On July 30, Coli (in photo, on right), for years the most powerful Teamster in the Chicago area, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count each of receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return. The first charge refers to acts of extortion totaling $325,000 from an area employer in order to ensure “labor peace.” He had been slapped with a 13-count superseding indictment in September 2017 after being indicted on six counts that July. Coli resigned as head of Teamsters Local 727 on the day of the initial indictment, clearing the way for his son, John T. Coli Jr., to take over. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the Labor Department’s Office … Read More ➡
On July 31, Asenath Roland, former president of the Kansas Postal Workers Union, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on one count of embezzlement of funds from the Wichita-based union in the amount of $4,740. The union is an affiliate of the American Postal Workers Union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On July 18, John Sammons, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1872, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on five counts of mail fraud and one count of theft in unspecified sums from the union, which represents civilian employees at Shaw Air Force Base. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Norwood Jewell believed that he was overdue for a slice of the good life. As it turned out, his life is anything but good. This Monday, August 5, Jewell, a former vice president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), was sentenced in Detroit federal court to 15 months in prison for accepting as much as $95,000 in bribes from officials of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in return for dropping certain union demands during contract talks several years ago. He had been charged this March, pleading guilty in April. His conviction was the eighth resulting from a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General into the misuse of an estimated $4.5 million from the Chrysler-funded National Training Center.
Norwood Jewell, now 61, a resident of Swartz Creek (near Flint), Mich., headed the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler operations from 2014 … Read More ➡