Connecticut Boss Settles Suit over Dues Hikes

Conn. Dist. Council of LIUNA settled a lawsuit Nov. 4 charging it with illegally collecting and increasing the dues of members. The suit, by Local 665 in Bridgeport, its business manager Ronald B. Nobili and 6 members, alleged that the council unilaterally raised dues without seeking member approval in violation of federal law. It also alleged that the funds were used to pay excessive salaries and personal expenses of council bosses and were distributed to serve bosses’ political interests, rather than the interests of the membership. The settlement requires the council to discontinue the practice and requires future increases be put to a secret ballot vote of the members. Council bosses agreed in the settlement not to retaliate against the plaintiffs and pay $100,000 in attorneys’ fees. The practices began in 1977 under ex-boss Dominick Lopreato, who is serving a 4-year federal prison sentence for kickbacks, and continued under the … Read More ➡

Racketeering Conviction Upheld

The U.S. 3rd Cir. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the racketeering and bribery conviction Nov. 5 of Louis Parise, Jr., the son of ousted Nat. Maritime Union boss, Louis Parise, Sr.  Parise, Jr., faces a 30-month federal prison sentence after being found guilty of delivering cash to union bosses so that they would refer injured seafarers to a lawyer working with the family. Parise, Sr., is serving a 56-month sentence in a federal prison role in the scheme and for embezzling union funds. Parise, Jr.’s, brother, Robert, is due for sentencing in Feb. after he pled guilty to embezzlement last year. He was accused of running a fake NMU local in Miami that diverted tens of thousands of dollars in union funds. In the bribery scheme, Parise, Sr., paid union port agents to refer injured seafarers to Bernard Sacks, a Philadelphia attorney, who gave 5% of the resulting fees … Read More ➡

New York City Bosses’ Lavish Stipends

As a broad investigation begins into allegations of rampant corruption in Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y.C. (See UCU 1.11), dissidents say the union’s troubles stem largely from DC 37’s awkward governing structure. The structure discourages executive board members from questioning how the union is run and encourages skimpy financial oversight, little questioning and a lot of looking the other way. Critics say Stanley Hill, DC 37’s executive director, handpicked the 24-member board. Board members have a strong financial incentive to go along with Hill. They receive stipends averaging $31,530 a year on top of their union salaries: $30,000-$150,000. They get $18,000 for sitting on the board and $12,000 for heading a committee. Critics say these bosses do little extra work in return for the stipends. Each month, they attend a lavishly catered meeting with London broil or poached salmon. [… Read More ➡

ABC Abuse Shows Union, Democrats, Out of Touch

Excerpts from the Omaha World News’Nov. 9 editorial: “Democrats Trespass in a Private Matter.” — “Vice President Al Gore showed bad judgment when he stiffed an ABC News reporter on election night because of a labor dispute at the network. Gore, who is courting organized labor for support of his presidential bid in 2000, put politics ahead of doing the right thing. The day before the election, about 2,200 ABC camera workers, publicists, producers, writers and editors staged a one-day walkout in several major cities in a dispute about health coverage policies. The network refused to let strikers come back to work the following day because they would not promise to give advance notice of future work stoppages.

The president of the Communications Workers of America asked the Democratic and Republican Parties to deny interviews to ABC and its affiliates. Gore responded by refusing to see an ABC reporter who … Read More ➡

Boss’ Removal Upheld, No Discrimination

Teamsters Local 705’s firing of an Italian-American business agent didn’t constitute “national origin discrimination,” but was motivated by the local’s desire to eliminate all vestiges of a formerly corrupt organization; so ruled the U.S. 7th Cir. Court of Appeals in Chicago Nov. 9. The evidence of plaintiff Jack Indurante consisted primarily of a few anti-Italian “stray remarks” and was thus insufficient to reverse a lower court judgment against him. In May 1992, Daniel Ligurotis, then Local 705 president, hired Indurante. Then a court-appointed trustee removed Ligurotis and Indurante due to findings of corruption by the U.S. Dist. Court in Manhattan. Indurante sued Local 507 on May 10, 1996, alleging that he was fired because of his age and Italian heritage. The local defended its discharge of Indurante as an effort “to implement the mandate of the government-ordered trusteeship of the Teamsters, to clean house.” [BNA 11/10/98]… Read More ➡

New York City Dissident Leader Fights Back

The reform-minded president of one of Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37’s locals was locked out of his Manhattan office Nov. 3 after his executive board voted to suspend him. The move to oust Roy Commer came at the hands of board members loyal to DC 37 boss Stanley Hill. “It’s outrageous. I think it’s a first swing back by the leadership of DC 37 against the dissidents in an effort to try to muzzle them,” said Commer’s attorney. DC 37 is being rocked by outside audits and a grand jury investigation into alleged election fraud, embezzlement and financial mismanagement (See UCU 1.11). But a lawyer for the DC 37 executive board insisted Commer was removed Nov. 2 for violating the union’s constitution and that it had nothing to do with union’s on going audit.

Commer fought back by asking the city Controller Alan Hevesi … Read More ➡

Nevada Contractors Fight Back Against BTOP

Associated Builders & Contractors of Southern Nevada (ABC-SN) issued a statement Nov. 6 strongly opposing the Building Trades Organizing Project’s (BTOP) tactics that force unionizing. BTOP is an AFL-CIO front for an alliance of 15 unions including two of America’s most corrupt unions, the Teamsters and Laborers (LIUNA). Excerpts of ABC’s statement follow:

“BTOP…is targeting ABC members in Las Vegas with a campaign to force open-shop contractors to become unionized — even against the expressed wishes of their workers. BTOP has spent millions of dollars over the last two years on a campaign based on misleading and incomplete information, unlawful job actions and other questionable tactics. BTOP kicked off its nationally publicized, $6 million campaign in southern Nevada with visits from high officials of the AFL-CIO, including President John Sweeney. BTOP’s goal is to unionize the entire construction industry in southern Nevada, starting with concrete finishing, then framing, then other … Read More ➡

Ex-Boss Faces Theft Charges

Ex-treasurer of the Lower Saucon Township Policemen Ass’n, Paul Kemp, was fired in Mar. and now faces court action on 7 counts of theft according to the Northampton County, Pa., Dist. Attorney’s office. Court records show he withdrew $400 cash from the union and wrote checks for $28.05, $116, $5.79, $28.61, $91.80 and $144.16 in 1995-97. Prosecutors said he “used the money and checks for his personal use rather than the association’s business.” [Morning Call 11/3/98]

After Probe & Suicide, Kentucky Boss Fired
Morgan Bayless was fired Nov. 2 as political director of the Ky. AFL-CIO. Bayless and other bosses of the state AFL-CIO were suspended in Sep. when the AFL-CIO began investigating alleged financial irregularities (See UCU 1.9). Jo Pressler, overseer of the AFL-CIO probe, declined to say why Bayless was fired and defrayed questions to Paul Raymond, bargaining agent for Laborers (LIUNA) Local 189 in Louisville, which … Read More ➡

$729K Returned to Teamsters Pension Fund

Teamsters Local 710’s pension fund in Chicago was repaid $729,400 for questionable fees credited to a brokerage firm. Announced Oct. 23, the money was returned voluntarily by Fleet Financial Group, which said an audit of a bank acquired by Fleet in 1996 indicated that fees paid to East West Capital Corp., in Harper Woods, Mich., may have been improper. There is a federal investigation into what happened with the funds and what ties existed between East West, Teamsters bosses and alleged associates of organized crime. Fleet said it returned the money to after determining that East West may not have performed research for which it had been paid. Allegedly, Christopher Roach, an East West principal, has dealings with elements of a Detroit crime family. [A.P. 10/23/98]

Labor Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Scam
Former Police Benevolent Ass’n lawyer, Richard Hartman, pled guilty Oct. 27 to dodging over $300,000 in taxes.  … Read More ➡

New York Boss Missing, Believed Dead

Ralph Coppola, a former United Brotherhood of Carpenters boss in N.Y., pled guilty in Sep. to a $1.2 million fraud and was set to receive a 24 to 30-month sentence in Nov. But, Coppola, an alleged Genovese crime family associate, has been missing for a month and is now believed to have been executed for pocketing money that should have been passed on to his Mafia superiors, according to  sources of the Daily News. If true, Coppola would be the first N.Y. boss to be killed since Oct. 1993, when a bloody intrafamily war left 10 dead. Those killings, and dozens more by the Gambinos and Lucheses, led to the Mafia’s ruling body to reportedly issue a no-killings directive until things cooled off. Coppola’s lawyer said it’s unlikely that he ran away because they had delayed his sentencing so he could be present for the birth of his third child, … Read More ➡