Local 1597 Boss Indicted for $110,000 Theft

Union boss Lola McBryde was indicted Apr. 14 on charges of embezzling over $110,000 from Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees’ coffers. She is the third AFSCME Dist. Council 37 boss to be indicted for union corruption by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau. Three others have pled guilty. McBryde is charged with grand larceny and falsifying records and faces 19 years in prison. The AFSCME Local 1597 ex-president’s schemes included:

  1) She got $50,000 for allegedly having the local pay for large amounts of food for Labor Day picnics and parades, while only a scant number of sandwiches were supplied. She then reportedly received kickbacks and shared them with two other DC37 bosses who have already pled guilty: Joseph DeCanio and Mark Shaplo. Both are cooperating with prosecutors. The alleged scheme worked by McBride approving fake invoices from DeCanio’s nephew’s bakery.

  2) McBryde allegedly embezzled $16,000 by intentionally overpaying a travel agency for conferences and conventions attended by members. The agency would refund the overpayments, and she reportedly retained the excess. The indictment stated that McBride used some of that money for a trip to Greece with another person. Additionally, she is charged with stealing nearly $4,300 for making the local pay for an Alaskan cruise for herself and a companion.

  3) She reportedly stole $33,000 by having the local pay inflated prices for Thanksgiving turkeys and hams for the local’s members again via fake invoices. The indictment stated that John Economos, the restaurant owner of the Coffee Mug, provided the fake invoices. The difference between the market price and the inflated price is reportedly what McBride kept. She allegedly shared it with Economos.

Additionally, Morgenthau reported that Tina Vacations, a travel agency in Westbury, N.Y., and its general manager, Peter Mantikas, pled guilty Apr. 12 to inflating the cost of several conferences and trips taken by union members. The agency and Mantikas admitted to receiving payments for the true travel costs and then kicking back the inflated amount to DC37 bosses Shaplo, Bessie Jamison and Gloria Whittle. Mantikas said the kickbacks secured the union’s future business. [N.Y. Times 4/15/99]