Another Hughes Pleads Guilty

Martin Hughes pled guilty May 15 to billing AFSCME Local 372 for trips to the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and visits to topless clubs. Hughes pled guilty to grand larceny in a Manhattan court in a plea bargain that will get him 2 to 6 years in prison when he is sentenced in July by Justice William Leibovitz. Hughes is one of more than 20 officials of DC37 to have pled guilty in the union corruption probe.

Hughes was second vice-president of Local 372, representing school lunch workers. The local was headed by his father, Charles Hughes who pled guilty to corruption last month and will be sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison.

Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau said of the indictments in May 1999 that the defendants had used the Local 372 treasury “as their own private candy store.”  He added, “Funds contributed by hard-working municipal employees were looted for the defendants’ personal benefit to support a lifestyle no union member could afford.” [Newsday 5/16/00]

Ex-Indiana Boss Admits to Conspiracy
The ex-boss of the Ind. Teamsters and Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 135 in Indianapolis, John L. Neal, and his wife, Cleo E., pled guilty May 15 to federal conspiracy charges and acknowledged that the machines they had defended as legal amusements and games of skill were in fact part of an illegal gambling enterprise.

In 1990, John added video gambling machines to the collection of pool tables and jukeboxes the two distributed. The machines, known as Cherry-masters, paid money for the right combinations of cherries, lemons and bells. Allegedly, the two, owners of Video Service in Muncie, bought 230 machines over 5 years and split the money they raked in with their client bars, bingo halls and restaurants. The two conspired to defraud the IRS of an estimated $325,000 to $550,000 for the years 1992-94. Further, John pled guilty to money laundering–he bought four businesses with money from the illegal gambling business.

John resigned his two Teamsters posts in 1996 after federal agents searched his home and seized $970,176.71 in cash contained in safes. As part of the pleas, the couple agreed to give up claims to the money seized by the government.
 Prosecutors are recommending John serve 3.5 years in prison and his wife one year. John agreed to pay the IRS $200,000 and the government $265,000, and pay a fine of $7,500. Cleo agreed to pay a fine of $3,000. [Indianapolis Star 5/17/00]