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.
Local government officials can be very creative when it comes to coaxing contractors to hire union labor. And their methods aren’t necessarily legal. On May 17, Kenneth Brissette, director of tourism, sports and entertainment for the City of Boston, was indicted by a federal grand jury for extortion; two days later he was arrested. And on June 29, Brissette, along with Timothy Sullivan, City chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, received superseding indictments. The defendants allegedly had required a concert promoter a couple of years ago that it would have to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11 in order to receive the necessary permits for a three-day festival on City Hall Plaza. The indictments follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
More than once, Union Corruption Update has described the workings of a well-organized scam on the Boston docks. Members of the International Longshoremen Association would place young adults and children, typically sons, on union payrolls for part-time work so as to qualify them for “seniority,” and hence a higher starting pay grade, if and when they become full-time workers. They also allegedly submitted bogus unemployment claims. Then-Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly in April 2005 initiated an investigation. The following year a Suffolk County grand jury returned 118 indictments against 20 persons. In Reilly’s words, the probe had uncovered “a system of fraud and corruption on Boston’s waterfront…where a few insiders gamed the system to benefit themselves and their friends and took opportunities and benefits away from other longshoremen who played by the rules.” One of the alleged insiders was Joseph J. Picard, Jr., who’d been head walking boss at the … Read More ➡
Boston Longshoremen don’t like people poking around into the way they do business. It’s a world of tightly-knit Irish ethnic families where work on the docks is passed on from one generation to the next. And if breaking the law is what it takes to make a good living, some of these people will do just that, especially if it involves group cooperation – i.e., a racket. Cracking this kind of racket is far from easy. But it appears that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, with some outside help, has done just that.
On August 9, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced a combined 118 indictments against 20 individuals, almost all of whom are or have been affiliated with locals of the International Longshoremen’s Association. He was flanked by Massachusetts Port Authority (“Massport”) Executive Director Thomas Kinton, Jr., U.S. Labor Department official Marjorie Franzman, and members of the Massachusetts Department of … Read More ➡