First Guilty Plea in New York Vote Scam

Manhattan Dist. Atty Robert M. Morgenthau won his first guilty plea in a vote-rigging scam involving the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employee’s scandal-ridden Dist. Council 37. The vote was on DC37’s 1996 contract with N.Y. City. Mark Shaplo, a top associate to ex-DC37 boss Stanley Hill, implicated Mar. 24 himself, two other Hill associates and AFSCME Int’l Vice-President Albert A. Diop. But, Shaplo didn’t implicate Hill. Reportedly, Shaplo said the scheme worked by bosses 1) printing thousands of extra blank ballots, 2) marking them to show approval of the contract, 3) mixing the fake ballots with authentic ones, helping to ensure approval of the contract.

Shaplo also pled guilty yesterday to receiving more than $50,000 in kickbacks from the sale of hundreds of holiday turkeys each year at inflated prices to DC37 Local 1251. Shaplo faces six years in prison and must repay the union $80,000. Morgenthau also announced the unsealing of Local 1251 boss Bessie Jamison’s Dec. guilty plea. Jamison admitted to receiving kickbacks for deliberately paying inflated prices for the roughly 1,000 turkeys her local bought for members each year.

Morgenthau’s office implied that more indictments or guilty pleas are coming soon. Morgenthau said, “We will continue the investigation until we have rooted out every vestige of corruption in DC37…” [N.Y. Times 3/25/99]