Glenn Blicht sold out his union for a price. Now he’s on the verge of paying a different kind of price. On October 16, Justice Department officials announced that Blicht, former president of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 164, had pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court two days earlier to demanding and accepting about $150,000 in bribes over several years from a representative of an employer in exchange for the union backing away from filing arbitration complaints against the company. He had been arrested and charged in July. As part of the plea deal, Blicht must forfeit $150,000 and pay restitution. He faces up to five years in prison. The employer representative already had pleaded guilty. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
John Ulrich might have called it payola, but prosecutors called it bribery. And evidence indicates they were right. On December 12, Ulrich, former vice president of the Great Neck (Long Island), N.Y.-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812 and a trustee of its health plan, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to soliciting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from an official with the plan’s third-party contractor in return for ensuring the union’s retention of the company. Ulrich had been indicted last February following a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration. Sentencing is set for April 23.
Teamsters Local 812 represents more than 3,000 soft drink and brewery production, bottling, delivery and auxiliary workers in the New York City metropolitan area. It also has a health benefit plan lucrative enough to attract … Read More ➡
James Moylan is about the last person that International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 wants to see taking the witness stand. But those fears might be realized. On October 16, Moylan, a longtime friend of John Dougherty, business manager of the powerful Philadelphia union, pleaded guilty in federal court to 17 counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false income tax returns in connection with his theft of around $49,000 from two nonprofit groups, each in some way supported by the union. He had been charged in January following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General’s Office.
IBEW Local 98, now with about 4,700 members, for years has held a prominent place in the overlapping worlds of Philadelphia labor, real estate … Read More ➡
When it comes to self-dealing, the United Auto Workers’ General Motors Department might rival its Chrysler Department. On September 4, Michael Grimes (in photo), a now-retired senior UAW official, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to honest services fraud and money laundering in connection with his receipt of over $1.5 million in illegal payoffs from UAW vendors over a dozen years. Eight days later, on September 12, a prominent union regional official, Vance Pearson, was arrested and charged with fraud, embezzlement and money laundering connected to separate schemes. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update described the case of Michael Grimes a few weeks ago. Grimes, now 65 and living in Fort Myers, Fla., had served as a $150,000-a-year administrative assistant to United … Read More ➡
If you wanted to get into the union, Salvatore Tagliaferro or John Defalco could help you for a price. It appears now that the two will pay more than they collected. On June 27, Tagliaferro and Defalco, respectively, president of Local 926 (Brooklyn) and vice president of Local 157 (Manhattan) of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, were arrested and indicted in Manhattan federal court on various charges related to their roles in a scheme to solicit and receive cash bribes in return for admission to the union for aspiring members. The defendants allegedly generated tens of thousands of dollars for themselves in this manner. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the New York City Department of Investigation.
According to charging documents, Salvatore “Sal” Tagliaferro, now 54, a resident of Staten Island, N.Y., and John … Read More ➡
For George Peltz, running a business and ripping off a union often meant the same thing. That’s why he’s no longer involved in either. On May 20, Peltz, a Philadelphia-area contractor, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to 18 months in prison and two years of probation for bribery, theft from a benefit fund, and tax fraud related to his dealings with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98. He also paid nearly $1 million in restitution. Peltz had pleaded guilty in January. The actions are part of a larger federal and state joint probe of corruption in Philadelphia that thus far has implicated a city council member, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, a couple of contractors and several Local 98 officials.
Larry Inman’s vote apparently was for sale. But what does that say about who was paying? On May 15, Inman, a three-term Republican in the Michigan House of Representatives, was indicted in Grand Rapids federal court for attempted extortion, solicitation of a bribe, and lying to the FBI related to his seeking cash payments from a Carpenters union affiliate in exchange for a favorable vote on a prevailing wage bill. He is declaring his innocence, but has an uphill climb. House Speaker Lee Chatfield, also a Republican, wants him to resign. And Mike Jackson, executive secretary for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, is glad Inman “is being brought to justice.” Yet the details are far from completely known. Inman pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on May 28. And the union may have ulterior motives.
John Ulrich may have seen the arrangement as a business deal, but federal prosecutors see it as a crime. On February 21, Ulrich, formerly vice president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812, was indicted in Manhattan federal court with soliciting and receiving tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from an unnamed administrator for the health plan of the Great Neck (Long Island), N.Y.-based union in return for retaining that company as a client. Ulrich, who was a plan trustee as well as a union officer, had been arrested earlier that day. He pleaded not guilty, and was released on $100,000 bond. The indictment follows a joint probe by the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Teamsters Local 812 represents about 3,000 soft drink and brewery workers in the New York City metropolitan area. John Ulrich, now … Read More ➡
Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is on a good luck streak. On April 26, the Senate Ethics Committee formally admonished Menendez, who had faced multiple bribery charges until the Justice Department dropped the case four months ago. The ethics panel had concluded that he “knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts” from a Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in a separate case. It also ordered Menendez “to repay the fair market value of all impermissible gifts not already paid.” While Menendez several years ago repaid $58,500, a sum he says reflects the value of the gifts, the true figure is likely a lot higher. True to form, the committee did not provide its own dollar figure.
Robert Menendez for several years had a close friendship with a Dominican-born, North Palm Beach, Fla.-based ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen, a man with a gift for extracting Medicare reimbursements for unnecessary and often excruciating … Read More ➡