Longshoremen Boss in NYC Area Sentenced for Extracting Bribes

When Glenn Blicht demanded money, he expected to receive it. What he’s expecting now is incarceration. On February 12, Blicht, former president of the Ridgefield Park, N.J.-based International Longshoremen’s Association Local 164, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison for demanding and receiving about $150,000 in payments over several years from an unnamed unionized employer in exchange for dropping the union’s arbitration complaints over alleged unfair labor practices. Such play-for-pay deals are illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act. Blicht had pleaded guilty last October after being charged in July. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

As Union Corruption Update had explained twice earlier (here and here), Glenn Blicht, a resident of Wilton, Connecticut and an officer of Local 164 during 2009-19, shortly after taking office began demanding cash … 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 ➡

NYC-Area Longshoremen President Pleads Guilty to Extracting Bribes

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.

Union Corruption Update had reported on this story last summer. Glenn … Read More ➡

NYC-Area Longshoremen Boss Arrested for Shaking Down Employer

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 ➡

ILWU, Dockworkers in Oregon Sued for Roles in Time Card Scam

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.

The longshore industry long has been plagued by union-abetted time sheet fraud. About a dozen years ago, Union Corruption Update extensively Read More ➡

Twenty Indicted in Probe of Boston Terminal Longshoremen Payroll Scam

international longshoremen_s association logoBoston 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 ➡

RICO Suit Could Mean Long-Term Federal Control Over Longshoremen

On the surface, life at International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) headquarters in Manhattan hasn’t changed all that much. But the seeming normalcy doesn’t disguise the fact that the union’s longstanding alleged ties to two Mafia families are about to be exposed wide open. On July 6, Justice Department lawyers filed a massive civil RICO lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Prosecutors, in their words, seek to end “the conspiracy among union officials, organized crime figures and others that has plagued some of the nation’s most important ports for decades.” The lawsuit alleges that the Genovese and Gambino crime families control the docks at the ports of New York-New Jersey and Miami, and that the mobsters have used that influence to curry favor with the international union and put their people in charge of member benefit programs.

 

ILA President John Bowers, his top aides, and union attorney Howard W. Read More ➡