There’s nothing like an early morning roundup to serve as a reminder that Mafia control over labor unions isn’t quite history yet. And lately many people in the New York City area are breathing a bit more freely. On May 31, FBI agents and NYPD cops arrested 19 members and associates of the Lucchese crime family on federal charges for crimes including wire fraud, racketeering, drug trafficking and murder committed over a 17-year period. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, 15 of the defendants were taken into custody and the four others already were in custody on other charges. Two arrestees, underboss Steven Crea (in left photo) Sr. and consigliere Joseph DiNapoli, had been involved with construction union extortion and bid-rigging conspiracies.
The Lucchese (also spelled Luchese) crime syndicate is one of the five New York City-based “families” of La Cosa Nostra (i.e., the Mafia) that for decades … Read More ➡
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 282 isn’t the Mafia branch it was around 30 years ago. But it still offers opportunities for illicit gain. Prosecutors have taken notice. On March 15, Nicholas Farnsworth, front man for several New York City-area trucking companies, was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to three years of probation and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution for his part in a scheme to defraud local members of about $5 million in benefits. Another participant, Toni Thomson, had received a similar sentence on January 23. Farnsworth’s father owned a unionized firm called Greenwood 2; the other firms were nonunion. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General and the New York City Business Integrity Commission.
Union Corruption Update described the details of this case five years ago. It was a classic ‘double-breasting’ … Read More ➡
“Micro-unionism” has been a fact of life of organized labor for nearly six years. Two Capitol Hill lawmakers, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. (in photo), and Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., believe that’s long enough. Last Thursday, the pair unveiled a bill, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S. 1217, H.R. 2629), that would end the practice of organizing individual sections of workers (rather than all workers) at a given employer or job site to ensure a favorable representation vote. The measure would restore the definition of a bargaining unit that had been overturned by the National Labor Relations Board in 2011. Unions are using the ruling to great advantage. Sen. Isakson, who has sponsored similar legislation in the past, asserts the measure will ensure a “fair and equitable application of labor laws in the United States.”
Union Corruption Update last covered this issue in January. The point of reference was … Read More ➡
It’s a recurring story in the world of law enforcement: A police officer, sworn to uphold the law, uses his union office to break it. New York City has provided one of the latest examples. On May 3, Victor Davila, former president of the Hunts Point Police Benevolent Association, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with embezzling more than $35,000 from the union by making unauthorized debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. He also was arrested that day. The case follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
The Hunts Point Police Benevolent Association (HPPBA), an affiliate of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, represents law enforcement officers who patrol the Hunts Point area of the Bronx, New York City. During roughly March 2011-March 2014, Victor Davila, 50, a resident of the Bronx, headed the union. And according to federal prosecutors, … Read More ➡
To find the most flagrant cases of fraud against unions, health plans are among the first places to look. A trio of family members in north suburban Chicago has joined the parade of guilty third-party administrators. On Monday, April 24, a chiropractor, his brother and their father were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for their roles in a six-year scam that generated nearly $29 million in phony billings costing insurance carriers over $10.8 million. Union plans were among the victims. The main defendants, Dr. Vladimir Gordin Jr., Alexsander Gordin and Vladimir Gordin Sr., operators of a clinic in Wheeling, Ill., received prison sentences, respectively, of seven years, two years and two-and-a half years. They and two other persons had pleaded guilty following a multi-agency probe.
The Gordin Medical Center was a chiropractic clinic in Wheeling, a fast-growing community located along the northern edge of … Read More ➡
On March 24, Jay Roy, former secretary-treasurer of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 1245-Transportation Division, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $2,125 from the Atlanta-based union. He also agreed to make restitution in the much larger sum of $101,019. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On March 28, Herbert White, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 8936, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in an information count with making a false entry in union records. The charge is on top of an earlier one in January 2016 accusing White of embezzling $24,287 in funds from the Wilmington union. Each charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
For more than a decade, Jeni May Hughes managed to avoid detection. Her main concern now is whether she will be able to repay the towering sum of money that she stole. Last Wednesday, on May 10, Hughes, former office manager for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 155, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to embezzling more than $400,000 from the Little Rock-based union. She had been charged in a one-count information on April 10 following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor Management Standards. She faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to federal prosecutors, Hughes, a resident of Jacksonville (Pulaski County), Ark., during January 2005-March 2016 diverted union funds to her own personal use. At the time of the charge, the missing amount was unspecified. Her plea deal, however, indicated the figure to … Read More ➡
On May 8, Curtis Lang, former president of United Dairy Workers of Le Mars, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Iowa, to one count of embezzling funds from the Le Mars (near Sioux City) union in the amount of $45,040. Lang had been indicted in March following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Christopher Hayes had a variety of ways to enrich himself illegally. But they all led to a conviction. On May 1, Hayes, former president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island to wire fraud in connection with his theft of $71,523 in funds from the Newport union. The former Newport police sergeant had been charged in March following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department and the Rhode Island State Police. Prosecutors had alleged that Hayes during August 2009-December 2014 had diverted funds to his own use with his union debit card and checking account, and with cash withdrawals and online credit card payments. Sentencing is set for July 21.… Read More ➡