Buffalo Boss Barred, Keeps Pension

Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union court-appointed monitor Kurt W. Muellenberg’s yet-to-be-filed report bars Buffalo boss Frank H. Ervolino from ever working for two locals he once controlled. But the retired 75-year-old is reportedly planning to stay retired. Muellenberg’s decision prohibits the payment of bonuses or salaries, but it lacks the authority to block vested pension benefits. But, the report is the first finding of guilt against Ervolino. And the decision may lead to more. Union sources say a federal grand jury investigation may have begun work on bringing criminal charges against Ervolino.

Muellenberg’s report concludes that Ervolino, his wife and his daughter embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from HERE Local 4 and AFL-CIO Hospital & Nursing Home Council from 1990-95. Both are now in trusteeship. Ervolino was also president of the Laundry & Dry Cleaners Int’l Union. The Ervolinos “knew they were receiving full-time pay for less than full-time work and acted with fraudulent intent,” the report said. “Ervolino’s work habits consisted of arriving at his office at approximately 10 a.m., taking a 45-minute to an hour lunch period and leaving the office at approximately 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.” Reportedly, he also took month-long vacations to Fla., in which he worked on union matters an hour a day. The report said the Ervolinos embezzled $359,262 from HNHC by increasing salaries and Christmas bonuses without approval. They also reportedly diverted $58,000 from HNHC via unauthorized loans to the Laundry union. Reportedly, $74,210 was also embezzled from HERE Local 4 via improper salary increases and bonuses. [Buffalo News 3/21/99]