AFSCME Local President in Wisconsin Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On May 22, Linda Woodford, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 727D, pleaded guilty in Dunn County (Wisconsin) Circuit Court to one count of misdemeanor theft from the Menomonie-based union. She then was sentenced to five days in jail, one year of probation, and 50 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $453 in court costs. She previously had paid full restitution in the amount of $4,065. Woodford had been charged last June following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFSCME Puts Corrupt Hawaii Local in Trusteeship; Removes State Director

Hawaii’s United Public Workers has entered a new era. And it isn’t the kind its leaders were counting on. On May 1, Lee Saunders, president of the union’s parent organization, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, placed the local under trusteeship. The previous day, AFSCME trial officers had removed UPW Hawaii State Director Dayton Nakanelua and Fiscal & Membership Services Administrator Jeanne Endo from their posts. Back in mid-February, an AFSCME audit had concluded that officials of the 13,000-member UPW had been spending large sums for unauthorized purposes. “It is my responsibility to ensure that our union is run with transparency and integrity at every level – and to take action when an emergency exists,” said Saunders.

The Honolulu-based United Public Workers, also known as AFSCME Local 646, as Union Corruption Update noted a couple of weeks ago, has a history of corruption. Back in … Read More ➡

AFSCME Audit of Hawaii Affiliate Reveals Suspicious Spending

The reputation of United Public Workers, never all that favorable, has taken another hit. This February, an internal audit prepared by the parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), concluded that officials of the 13,000-member Hawaii affiliate spent more than $300,000 (and possibly a good deal more) on unauthorized or suspect purposes over two and half years. The 25-page report, a copy of which was obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, stated: “There does not appear to be meaningful oversight on how funds are spent and accounted for, and…the opportunity for abuse of misuse of union funds exists as a result.” The audit did not accuse anyone of criminal wrongdoing. Union officials have vowed to meet AFSCME transparency standards.   

Hawaii has been the site of an unusual number of recent union corruption cases in federal court. Raymond Fujii, former head of a contractors’ … Read More ➡

AFSCME President in New Jersey Sentenced for $175K+ Ripoff

Shelby Hyman can console herself with the knowledge that her required restitution is on the low side. On February 10, Hyman, former president and treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1761, was sentenced in Middlesex County (New Jersey) Superior Court to four years in prison for stealing about $176,000 in funds from the New Brunswick union over a six-year period. She also was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution on top of the $10,000 she paid last October – well short of $176,000. Hyman had pleaded guilty last August after being arrested and charged with fund misapplication in December 2018. AFSCME Local 1761 represents various employees of Rutgers University.

According to prosecutors, Hyman, now 52, a resident of Franklin Township (Somerset County), N.J., used her position as union president and treasurer during 2012-18 to divert union funds to personal uses. Eventually, one or more suspicious … Read More ➡

Massachusetts AFSCME Local President Charged with Theft

On February 26, Christian Leeds, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1370, was charged in the Springfield District Court of Massachusetts with one count of larceny in the sum of $13,444 from the Springfield-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. … Read More ➡

Ex-AFSCME Local President in Maryland Sentenced for Theft

On February 18, Sophia Love, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2751, was sentenced in the Circuit Court for the City of Baltimore to five years in prison, with credit for time served, for theft in the amount of $15,548 from the Baltimore union. She had pleaded guilty in June 2018 following her indictment in August 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  … Read More ➡

Indiana AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On January 14, Eleanor Harvey, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3826, pleaded guilty in Marion County, Indiana Superior Court to one count of theft of union funds in an amount of between $750 and $50,000. She then was sentenced to a year of home confinement (suspended) and a year of probation, and was ordered to pay $18,800 in restitution and attend an anti-conversion class. Harvey had been charged last August following a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.… Read More ➡

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Perhaps more than usual, corruption stories in 2019 involved the overlapping worlds of unions and politics. In Chicago, former Teamster boss John T. Coli Sr., whose ability to cut deals with City Hall and the Illinois legislature for years went virtually unchallenged, pleaded guilty in July to shaking down a television studio owner. One of his allies, State Senator Tom Cullerton, was hit with multiple embezzlement charges. In Boston, two city officials were convicted of putting the squeeze on a concert promoter on behalf of a Theatrical Employees local. In Philadelphia, an Electrical Workers business manager and seven other persons, including a city councilman, were indicted in January for embezzlement, wire fraud and bribery; a contractor and a fundraiser subsequently pleaded guilty.

The overlap of union and government interests was especially marked in the public sector. Unions, still smarting from the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling in 2018, … Read More ➡

Wisconsin AFSCME Vice President Pleads Guilty; Ordered to Pay Restitution

On September 10, Jennifer Conway, former vice president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 727D, pleaded guilty in Dunn County, Wisconsin Circuit Court to one count of misdemeanor theft from the Menomonie union, and then was ordered to pay court costs of $458. She previously had paid restitution in the amount of $250 after being charged this June. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Charged with Theft

On August 28, Eleanor Harvey, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Local Employees Local 3826, was charged in Marion County, Indiana Superior Court with two counts of theft of funds from the Indianapolis union totaling between $750 and $50,000 following a grand jury indictment. The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

 … Read More ➡