UAW’s Pearson Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

The outcome couldn’t have been more inevitable for Vance Pearson. And it couldn’t have been less welcome for the people ranking above him. Last Friday, February 7, Pearson, former regional director for the United Auto Workers and a member of the union’s international board, pleaded guilty in Detroit federal court to conspiracy to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds, enabling him and other UAW officials to live large – or at least larger – for nearly a decade. In so doing, he may have brought prosecutors one step closer to bringing charges against former Auto Workers President Gary Jones and his immediate predecessor, Dennis Williams. The action follows a probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

As Union Corruption Update indicated a couple of weeks ago, Vance Pearson, now 58, a resident of … Read More ➡

Feds Cite Former UAW Presidents for Racketeering; File New Charges against Ex-Regional Boss

It’s official: The United Auto Workers has been declared a racket. On January 6, recently departed UAW President Gary Jones (in photo) and his immediate predecessor, Dennis Williams, were cited, albeit under assumed names, in Detroit federal court as participants in a racketeering enterprise. The designation was part of a new charge against Vance Pearson, former director of a major regional affiliate and a member of the union’s international executive board, of embezzlement conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider had been hinting at such action these last few months. Jones had resigned his post under pressure in November. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update more than once has covered this scandal, the details of which provide a hard look into how the Detroit-based union, with around 400,000 active members, … 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 ➡

Niagara LIUNA Enforcer Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

Another domino has fallen in the strange, violent saga of Laborers Local 91. For years the local dictated the terms of hiring at construction sites in Niagara County, N.Y. Their targets were nonunion workers and any contractor foolish enough to hire them. Their preferred methods of enforcement were vandalism, assault and extortion. In a predawn raid in 2002 federal agents arrested more than a dozen union members. In recent weeks, two of them, Anthony Cerrone and Andrew Shomers, pleaded guilty to racketeering.

 

Reading the tea leaves, Salvatore Bertino has become the next to go down. The 53-year-old former local vice president pleaded guilty on Tuesday, June 21 to racketeering conspiracy. At his hearing, Bertino cited five incidents in which Local 91 President Mark Congi directed him and others to engage in extortion. Seven other union officials, including Congi, are set to go on trial later this year. (BuffaloRead More ➡