Two Turn on Boss, Make Deal to Save Themselves

Daniel J. Bielat and William P. Yarma settled embezzlement charges Aug. 27 with a federally appointed investigator, leaving Frank H. Ervolino, Buffalo-area union boss, the sole target of a federal investigation. After helping Ervolino run 3 locals, Bielat and Yarmal made agreements that dropped embezzlement charges against them. The investigator, Kurt W. Muellenberg, was appointed under 1995 settlement of racketeering charges against the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union.

Muellenberg will decide by Oct. if he will proceed with charges that the Ervolino family funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds into their own pockets in 1990-95. Allegedly, Ervolino collected $1.5 million from the unions in salary and pension benefits; his wife collected $529,610 and his daughter $246,018. Sources included unauthorized raises and bonuses, and according to the charges, Ervolino benefited from union-paid insurance policies and entered into deals between the union and businesses run by his family.

However, due to the weakness of Mullenberg’s office, it’s unclear whether any potential penalty would go beyond barring the Ervolinos from union posts that they have already relinquished. Ervolino was simultaneously president of HERE Local 4, AFL-CIO Hosp. & Nursing Home Council, and Laundry & Dry Cleaners Local 168-39, all in Buffalo. He was also president of the Laundry & Dry Cleaning Int’l Union based in Pittsburgh. [Buff. News 8/28/98]