Illinois Boss Guilty of Intimidation

Michael J. Gochis was convicted Feb. 2 by federal jury on three misdemeanor counts connected to his intimidation and physical assault of Teamster Local 505 member David Bothum. During a 1995 contract settlement, Bothum spoke against a proposal. His comments drew the ire of Gochis, who threatened Bothum. After one such exchange Gochis allegedly attacked Bothum from behind and threw him to the concrete floor warehouse, fracturing Bothum’s ribs. Gochis was acquitted of battery in 1998, but federal prosecutors later charged him with violating a federal labor statute forbidding intimidation of union members who voice their views on union business. Asst. U.S. Atty. Mark Vogel said the federal charges were brought after a key witness allegedly perjured himself in the battery trial. Gochis faces 3 years in prison. [Chicago Tribune 2/4/99]

Corrupt New Jersey Local Oversight to End
Court-appointed monitor Edwin H. Stier said Feb. 5 that the notorious Teamsters Local 560 of Union City, N.J., no longer needs government oversight because its decades-old legacy of corruption has ended. In 1986, the local was the first union entity in America to be taken over by the federal government. The late mob boss Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano ran the local and was a suspect in the late Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. In 1978, Provenzano was convicted of killing a rival. His brothers ran the local until they were convicted on corruption charges. Then associate Michael Sciarra ran the union until a judge barred him. Sciarra and Provenzano loyalists remained entrenched during the 1990s, intimidating members and attempting to loot the pension fund. But now, allegedly, all corrupt elements have been defeated. In the local’s Dec. election, members rejected candidates loyal to the old racketeers, and Stier cites this as proof that the local has cleansed itself.  Stier said that court-appointed trusteeship saved the pension fund at least $100 million from looting and mismanagement. [Record 2/6/99]

Wisconsin Boss Removed, Money Missing
An unnamed boss at AFSCME Local 366 in Milwaukee was ousted Feb. 4 amid allegations of missing funds from the union’s coffers. Richard Abelson, AFSCME Dist. Council 48’s boss, said an audit is under way to learn how much money is missing but said it is clearly a significant amount. He also said the U.S. Dep’t of Labor and the U.S. Atty.’s Office are investigating. “I’m so appalled somebody would dip into our members’ funds,” Abelson said. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2/5/99]

New York Bosses Plead Guilty
Two bosses of the Int’l Bhd. of Fireman & Oilers Local 266 in Buffalo pled guilty Feb. 4 to misusing over $35,000 in union funds for personal benefit. Local officer Linda Rafan pled guilty to embezzlement of union funds and faces 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Local ousted-president John Jacchino pled guilty to falsifying union records and faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Rafan used union checks and credit cards for personal use. Jacchino withdrew cash from a union account claiming it was for members in financial difficulty, but the funds were used by Rafan and him for undisclosed personal expenses. [Buffalo News 2/5/99]

California Boss Guilty in Child Porn Case
Philip G. Dupuis — Redlands Teachers Union vice-president and a Redlands (Cal.) Unified School Dist. music teacher — pled guilty in Jan. to possessing hundreds of child pornography photos. He will serve between 27-33 months in federal prison. The FBI probe took only 11 days. In a pathetic defense of the perverted boss, Linda Gray, another boss who worked with Dupuis for 12 years, said she was glad the case was not going to drag on. “I’m very sad because overall he is a very kind and considerate person, and I guess I just don’t understand that other side of him,” she said. “It’s a flaw in him. This totally seems out of character, and overall I still consider him a friend.” [Press-Enterprise 1/30/99]