Central Illinois Bosses Charged, Motives Questioned.

The ethically-challenged Luskin also recently charged ex-bosses of LIUNA Local 703 in Urbana, Ill., including ex-business agent Edward “Gene” Johnson, his son and Jamie Johnson, who was the business agent when Local 703 was placed in trusteeship in 1998, Jim Felkner, Dennis Gleason and L.T. Robertson. The recently released Mar. 4 charges state that the five established a “sham consulting contract” that paid Edward Johnson $154,000, converted union funds to their own personal use and violated union election rules.

Local 703’s attorney for the trusteeship process, Doug Roller, questioned Luskin’s charges. Roller suggested the charges were designed to derail the desires of the membership during the upcoming officer elections. “It seems to me this is an effort to ban these people so they can’t run against the international’s slate of candidates,” [BNA 4/29/99]

Roller’s concerns about the trusteeship were echoed by ex-Local 703 employee Donna H. Keleher who has voiced sexual harassment allegations against Jamie Johnson. Keleher, who reportedly testified against Local 703 bosses at a May 1998 hearing in Washington, D.C. said, “I played a major role in ridding Local 703 of corrupt officers and employees and the Laborers’ International has tossed me aside. Further, they are trying to destroy me, personally, without regard to the law. [You have n]o civil liberties when you join the Laborers’ Union[.] I [] only wanted my job and life back. The ‘Consent Decree’ between the Department of Justice and LIUNA is a joke. The trusteeship of Local 703 is a joke. [It’s] business as usual. LIUNA has fragrantly violated my civil rights. They are no better than the local union officers they threw out of office.”