Former Secretary-Treasurer of IATSE Local in New Orleans Charged with Theft

On February 3, the New Orleans Police Department issued a warrant for the arrest of Chandra Miller, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 478, who had been charged in federal court with one count of theft in a sum of more than $5,000 from the New Orleans-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. … 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 ➡

IATSE Treasurer in Massachusetts Sentenced for Embezzlement

On August 30, Ivar Carlson, former business agent and treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local B-935, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to one year of probation for embezzling funds from the now-defunct Worcester-based union. He also was ordered to forfeit $16,151 in assets and pay $9,786 in restitution on top of the $6,775 he already paid. Carlson, a resident of Auburn, Mass., during March 2007-September 2016 had written or cashed union checks for unauthorized purposes. He had pleaded guilty this March to stealing $37,014 after being charged last December. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Boston City Officials Convicted of Extortion on Behalf of Stagehands Union

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.

The saga has its roots in the summer of 2014. The “Boston Calling” music festival had been scheduled for that September at City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston. An established concert … Read More ➡

Virginia IATSE President Sentenced for Fraud and Embezzlement

On April 9, Benjamin Wisecarver, former president of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to five months in prison, five months of home confinement and two years of probation for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement in the amount of $57,310 from the Hampton-based union. He also was ordered to pay $53,704 in restitution. Wisecarver had pleaded guilty last December after being indicted on multiple counts in October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Massachusetts IATSE Local Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft

Ivar Carlson apparently pushed his luck too long. On March 26, Carlson, former business agent and treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local B-935, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to one count of embezzling funds from the now-defunct Worcester union in the sum of $37,014. He had been arrested and charged in December following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

IATSE Local B-935 represented about 30 workers at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. With Ivar Carlson handling their dues money, those workers were ripped off. Court records indicate that Carlson, 58, a resident of Auburn, Mass., during March 2007-September 2016 used his positions to write checks from the union bank account, cash the checks, and use the funds for unauthorized purposes. Eventually, the Department of Labor traced the shortfall of funds to Carlson and referred … Read More ➡

Trustee of Stage Employees Local in Massachusetts Charged with Theft

On February 11, Darius Pourfarzaneh, former trustee of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 935B, was charged in Worcester District Court with one count of larceny in the amount of $6,870 from the Worcester union, which represents employees of the arena facility in that city. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

IATSE Secretary-Treasurer in Virginia Sentenced for Embezzlement

On February 8, Christopher Mulhall, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to five months of home detention and 36 months of probation for wire fraud and embezzlement against the Hampton-based union in the sum of $57,310. He already has paid full restitution. Mulhall had pleaded guilty late last May after being charged earlier that month. The case has ensnared a number of top people in the union. In January, former President Benjamin Wisecarver pleaded guilty to wire fraud. And last November, husband and wife Dennis and Dorian Nicely, respectively, former local vice president and former business agent, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

IATSE President in Virginia Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Embezzlement

On December 19, Benjamin Wisecarver, former president of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement in the amount of $57,310 from the Hampton union. He had been indicted on multiple counts in October. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

 … Read More ➡

IATSE Treasurer in Massachusetts Charged with Embezzlement

For almost a decade, Ivar Carlson used his union bank account as it were a personal one, and without anyone noticing. People now have noticed. On December 6, Carlson, former business agent and treasurer for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local B-935, was arrested and then charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with one count of embezzling $37,014 in funds from the union, which represents workers at the DCU Center in Worcester. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to federal prosecutors, Carlson, now 58, a resident of Auburn, Mass., during March 2007-September 2016 used his positions at IATSE Local B-935 to write checks from the union bank account, cash the checks, and use the funds for unauthorized purchases. After appearing in court, he was released on conditions. Carlson faces up to five years in prison, up to … Read More ➡