New York Couple Charged with $235,000 Theft

A federal grand jury in Buffalo indicted ex-union boss Frank Ervolino and his wife, Anna, charging them with stealing more than $235,000. The indictments come a year after a court-appointed monitor found the couple guilty of embezzling union funds from two Buffalo unions, including Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 4, while they worked half-days, at most, and took a four-month annual vacation in Florida.

The couple allegedly ransacked the AFL-CIO Hosp. & Nursing Home Council, which served as an umbrella union that included locals of HERE and the Laundry & Dry Cleaners Int’l Union. From 1990-96, they reportedly diverted $183,000 from the Council and $52,000 from its pension fund. In 1990, the two reportedly drew $275,749 in salaries and pensions while the Council showed net assets of $ 196,000; but by 1996, they reportedly drew $504,339 in salary and pensions while the Council was $178,648 in debt.

They allegedly used a variety of devices, including paying themselves severance while they were still employed and buying unauthorized insurance and annuity policies for themselves with union funds. Prosecutors say the Ervolinos never reported the transactions in required federal labor reports, and used a rubber stamp bearing a union officer’s signature on the checks without his knowledge.

“I think the Ervolinos are despicable,” said Marshall Blake, trustee of the Council’s successor, Service Employees Int’l Union Local 1199. “I’m just gratified the feds were able to bring forth an indictment.” [Buff. News 5/17/00]