New York City-area construction unions are well-known for being on the take. A recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice won’t likely alter that reputation. On October 1, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest and indictment of 11 officials of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council on various charges related to their receipt of over $100,000 in bribes from nonunion contractors in return for bid-rigging, in the process selling out the dues-paying union members whom they represented. Led by Trades Council President James Cahill, the defendants are current or former members of two local affiliates of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters. Aiding in the probe was the Suffolk County (Long Island), N.Y. district attorney’s office. All the defendants pleaded not guilty at arraignment.
It’s a common form of back-scratching in the world of organized labor: An … Read More ➡
Police unions have been receiving much criticism these past couple months, and two trustees of a New York City police union benefit plan haven’t helped matters. Three days ago, July 13, Kenneth Wynder Jr., president of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with defrauding the LEEBA annuity fund of more than $500,000 following his arrest. Separately, LEEBA Treasurer Steven Whittick was charged with obstruction and making false statements in the case. Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss explained, “Today we have charged two leaders of a union that represents local law enforcement officers for engaging in criminal conduct.” The charges follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Labor Department and the City Comptroller’s Office.
At the beginning of this month, Union Corruption Update analyzed the lengths to which police unions often … 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 ➡
New York City residents finally are digging out of a devastating post-Christmas blizzard, aided by unexpectedly warmer weather. But a growing number are sounding as if they want to use their shovels against union snowplow workers and their supervisors. Various news outlets have reported that leaders of the Service Employees-affiliated Sanitation Officers Association ordered their Teamsters-affiliated work crews to slack off as a protest against recent City Department of Sanitation budget cuts and demotions. The apparent work slowdown not only paralyzed traffic, but also led to two deaths and any number of commuters trapped overnight in subway cars. On the hot seat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has demanded, and is getting, a full investigation. Union leaders deny culpability, insisting fiscal austerity had reduced manpower. But evidence appears to undercut such claims.
That a king-sized blizzard slammed New York during December 26-27 is something nobody debates. It was the sixth-most powerful in … Read More ➡
Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union long had been a fiefdom of New York’s Genovese crime family. At least three top officers had to resign over various federal criminal allegations. Now a new report is providing even more powerful evidence of a close working relationship between the Mob and the union. On September 6, dissident local members held a news conference to release the contents of a report prepared by an independent counsel in January, concluding that “organized crime, with the full knowledge of certain local and even international officials, had infiltrated and controlled” the Queens, N.Y.-based 15,000-member school bus drivers’ union.
The independent counsel, Richard W. Mark, called upon the parent ATU to bring internal charges against former Local 1181 President Salvatore Battaglia and former Secretary-Treasurer Julius Bernstein, and to conduct a further probe. Battaglia is facing a federal trial, having been indicted in 2005 for racketeering … Read More ➡
At 86, Matthew “Matty the Horse” Ianniello, reputed acting boss of the Genovese crime family of New York, has managed to outlive virtually all of his contemporaries. But the ailing mobster might not outlive a stretch in federal prison, even a brief one. On Monday, April 16, Ianniello was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 18 months in prison on a racketeering charge stemming from his involvement with the Queens, N.Y.-based Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, which represents bus drivers.
Ianniello pleaded guilty last September to a charge that he’d helped arrange for bus companies to make illegal payoffs to Local 1181 officials. Julius “Spike” Bernstein, the local’s former secretary-treasurer, was convicted on obstruction of justice, extorting money from a bus company, and conspiring with Ianniello and other Genovese mobsters to extort $100,000 from a medical center leasing space from the union. Ianniello became the crime family’s acting boss when … Read More ➡
Age is no obstacle when it comes to running a business, especially when it’s a Genovese crime family business. Apparently it’s no obstacle to getting arrested either. Matty “the Horse” Ianniello, a longtime Genovese capo, knows the lesson as well as anyone. On Thursday, July 28, federal agents and local police arrested Ianniello and 19 other alleged members and associates on extortion, loansharking and other charges. Ianniello, 85, who at one point allegedly served as acting family boss following the conviction of Vincent “the Chin” Gigante (see photo), was still active. “Don’t let age fool you,” said FBI Agent Matt Heron. “He’s still an influential player in the Genovese family.”
The family has been playing hard these past several years. The federal indictment leading to the arrest alleges that Genovese members, led by Ianniello, infiltrated the Queens, N.Y.-based Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus drivers. … Read More ➡