AFGE Secretary in North Carolina Charged with Fraud; Pleads Guilty

On March 11, Rudy Ziegler, former secretary-treasurer for American Federation of Government Employees Local 446, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina with one count of wire fraud in the amount of $5,276 against the Asheville union. He then pleaded guilty. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  … Read More ➡

South Carolina AFGE Local President Pleads Guilty

John Sammons was a double-dipper when it came to travel, but at least he can take comfort in being convicted on a single charge. On February 28, Sammons, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1872, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to one count of theft in excess of $1,000 from the union, which represents about 150 to 200 civilian employees at Shaw Air Force Base. Sammons had been indicted last July on five counts of mail fraud and one count of theft whose sum total was not specified at the time. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Sammons, now 61, an employee of Shaw AFB, was president of AFGE Local 1872 from about 2000 through 2016. Unfortunately, say prosecutors, he often used his position to receive extra reimbursements for trips related to … 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 ➡

AFGE Boss in Washington, D.C. Sentenced for Transporting Stolen Funds

On December 5, Audonus Duplessis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2463, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to 12 months and one day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised probation and 300 hours of community service, for transporting $11,300 worth of stolen funds from the Washington, D.C. union to a Virginia location for the purpose of buying a car. The total sum stolen, however, was in excess of $80,000. AFGE Local 2463 represents employees at the Smithsonian Institution. Duplessis had pleaded guilty last October after being indicted in June. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Former President of Fort Knox AFGE Local Charged with Fraud

On November 20, Rocky Gannon, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2302, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on three counts of wire fraud and nine counts of securities forgery against the union, which represents civilian personnel at Fort Knox. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

 … Read More ➡

AFGE President of Lewisburg Prison Guards Union Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Until recently, Tony Liesenfeld represented guards at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. In an odd twist of fate, he’s now facing the possibility of being an inmate there or somewhere else like it. On October 4, Liesenfeld, former president and secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 148, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to an information count of wire fraud against the union totaling more than $77,000 over several years. The plea includes a requirement to make full restitution on top of any sentence. He had been charged on September 13. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Over its nearly 90-year history, Lewisburg federal prison has served as a temporary home to a rogues’ gallery of convicts including Whitey Bulger, John Gotti and Jimmy Hoffa. Tony Liesenfeld isn’t remotely in their class. But as head of … Read More ➡

Ex-AFGE President in Boston Takes Alford Plea; Sentenced

On September 12, Juan Evereteze, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3258, admitted to a sufficient finding of facts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Suffolk County Superior Court for larceny. He then was sentenced to four years of probation, the first year of which would be supervised, and ordered to pay $38,000 in restitution. An Alford plea, though not a formal guilty plea, is an admission that the facts as presented are sufficient for a conviction. Local 3258 represents employees of the Boston Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE President in Washington, D.C. Pleads Guilty to Transporting Stolen Funds

On September 12, Audonus Duplessis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2463, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in connection with his moving $11,300 worth of stolen funds from the Washington, D.C.-based union to Virginia for the purpose of buying a car. The total sum stolen from the union, which represents Smithsonian Institution employees, exceeded $80,000. Duplessis had been indicted in June. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Maryland AFGE Local Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

For three years, Annette Jones used her union as a personal ATM card. Her card now no longer works. On September 10, Jones, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 331, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to two years in prison for embezzling more than $80,000 from her union, which represents hundreds of employees at the Perry Point VA Medical Center in Cecil County, Md. She also was ordered to pay full restitution. Jones had pleaded guilty this May after being indicted in June 2018. The actions follow a joint investigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update covered this story in May. Jones, now in her mid-40s, a resident of Port Deposit, Md., conducted a pair of fraud schemes against AFGE Local 331 during July … Read More ➡

AFGE Secretary in Oklahoma Sentenced for Thefts

On August 7, Christy Coppin, former office secretary of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2250, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to five years of probation for thefts in the sum of $52,738 from the union, which represents employees of the VA hospital in Muskogee. Coppin also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. According to prosecutors, she stole items of value from the hospital during 2015-17. Coppin had pleaded guilty to one count of theft this February after being indicted in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡