New York Boss Pleads Guilty to Stealing $2 Million

Charles Hughes, once one of N.Y.C’s most powerful union bosses, pled guilty Apr. 19 to stealing over $2 million from Am. Fed’n of State, Country & Mun. Employees Local 372. Hughes is the most senior figure to plead guilty in the AFSCME Dist. Council 37 probe which has now resulted in 19 guilty pleas. Hughes will be sentenced to no more than nine years in prison. He had denied any wrongdoing but was scheduled to go on trial on Apr. 24.

Hughes admitted to: 1) stealing $1.29 million in unearned, unauthorized pay; 2) spending $340,000 of union funds on his personal credit card bills; 3)  spending over $100,000 of union money on a trip he and 14 relatives and friends took to Egypt, Israel, Prague, Paris and London; 4) spending $97,000 in union funds on no-show jobs for friends in Millen, Ga.

Reportedly, Hughes’ actions forced the Local 372 into a $10 million debt, even though it collected $19 million a year in dues. Union members paid about $910 a year in dues, a reportedly relatively high figure for workers at their sub-$20,000 wage level. [N.Y. Times 4/20/00]