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.
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.
When Glenn Blicht talked about “tickets,” it wasn’t about a concert or a ball game. At least one businessman who had dealings with him learned the hard way. Last Friday, July 26, Blicht, president of Local 164 of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), was arrested and then charged in Manhattan federal court with one count each of honest services fraud and receipt of bribes from an unnamed employer in return for a promise to back away from filing union arbitration complaints against the company. Following his arraignment, he was released on a $100,000 bond. He’s due back in court on August 26. The employer already has pleaded guilty. The arrest follows an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Glenn Blicht, now 57, a resident of Wilton, Conn., has served as an officer of the Ridgefield Park … Read More ➡
There are few workplaces in this country that can match the shipping terminal when it comes to wage and hour fraud – especially if the dockworkers are unionized. Back in December, Columbia Export Terminal in Portland, Oregon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and more than 150 of its members, accusing them of participating in a conspiracy to inflate their on-the-clock time in a variety of ways. The schemes allegedly cost the terminal over $5 million. The union, the suit reads, “organized and orchestrated the scheme to submit falsified time sheets.” A court spokesperson told National Legal and Policy Center yesterday afternoon that the case remains active, though a pretrial hearing has yet to be scheduled.
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 ➡