Third International Boss Indicted

A third Iron Workers boss has been indicted on federal charges that he illegally used more than $85,000 in union money to cover personal expenses, including the costs of meals, hotels and vacations for himself, his family and his friends. Darrell E. Shelton, Int’l Ass’n of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers’ organizer for Cal., was accused May 12 of using at least $3,000 of union funds to cover personal dinners and resort charges for Jake West, BSOIW’s president, and West’s family and friends.

West has not been charged but has been probed for over two years because of a relationship with ex-Washington, D.C. police chief Larry D. Soulsby–and whether West used union money to bestow favors on Soulsby, and if so, whether he received anything in return.

Shelton is the third union official to face charges. He pled not guilty to a 69-count indictment in U.S. Dist. Court in Washington. Fred G. Summers, BSOIW’s ex-organizing director, pled guilty in Mar. 2000 to stealing more than $50,000. Summers, who agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, admitted covering expenses for West and his and West’s friends and relatives. Michael J. Brennan, who once headed the Iron Workers Political Action League, pled guilty in Mar. 1999 to charges involving the theft of $7,000 in union money. Brennan also agreed to cooperate.    Shelton was arrested Apr. 26 at his home in Palm Springs, Cal. on charges of mail fraud, embezzlement and making false entries in union records. Prosecutors said Shelton stole union money by submitting phony expense claims and by making purchases on his union-issued credit card. Among other things, he allegedly used union money to pay for a family reunion in 1995 in Oklahoma, his mother’s birthday dinner in 1995, and lodging for a Disneyland visit for Independence Day 1997. He is accused of collecting reimbursement for thousands of dollars in phony charges related to phone and auto expenses.

Shelton’s attorney, E. Lawrence Barcella, Jr., criticized the direction the investigation has taken, saying, “The prosecutor is spending a lot of time and energy on a relatively minor internal matter.” [Wash. Post 5/13/00]