Local 983 Boss Guilty of Larceny, Fraud

Another AFSCME boss “dropped like a domino” June 6, admitting to stealing over $50,000 from his members and rigging a DC37 contract vote. Robert Taylor, ex-boss of AFSCME Local 983, agreed to a prison sentence of 1.5 to 4.5 years for his guilty plea to grand larceny and scheme to defraud. The fraud count is based on the legal theory advanced by Manhattan D.A. Robert M. Morgenthau that depriving union members of an honest ballot ratification was a criminal theft of their union-given right to vote. Taylor also agreed to pay the Local 983 $50,000 that he admitted stealing.

DC37 members approved a new contract in 1996-97 that froze wages, which many thought would never be approved. But, DC37 bosses, wanting labor peace with the Giuliani Mayoralty, arranged for passage by falsifying the vote.  Taylor admitted that he and other unnamed bosses obtained blank ballots and filled them out. Morgenthau had said previously that the minutes of the local’s meeting showed a vote of 40-16 in favor of the contract, but Taylor reported to the council that the vote was 400 in favor and 65 against.

Taylor was also part of the “Turkey Caper,” in which he and other DC37 bosses paid inflated prices for holiday turkeys that were distributed free to union members. The bosses and the turkey distributor reportedly then split the inflated amount. [Newsday 6/7/00]