DC37 Clean-Up Offical Charged with Vote Fraud

Trial testimony has implicated a Manhattan union boss, who is part of the “clean-up” effort in the scandal-scared Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees Dist. Council 37, in union vote-fraud scam. Gary R. Tenenbaum, ex-boss of AFSCME Local 299, testified July 10 that Dennis Sullivan, DC37’s chief negotiator, helped rig DC37’s 1995 contract ratification vote.

Since DC37’s embezzlement and vote-fraud scandal erupted in 1998, over thirty have been criminally charged and more than twenty have pled guilty. Yet, Sullivan has remained, helping lead efforts to negotiate a new contract with the Giuliani mayoralty. Sullivan was “so respected” that AFSCME president Gerald W. McEntee’s lieutenant running the DC37 administratorship, Lee Saunders, named Sullivan a deputy. He is reportedly one of Saunders’ closest aides, but he was also a top aide to DC37’s disgraced ex-executive director Stanley Hill. Some consider Sullivan a top candidate to be the next DC37 executive director.

Reportedly, Sullivan denied Tenenbaum’s allegations. Saunders said, “These are allegations that we’re hearing for the first time. The testimony given by Tenenbaum today completely contradicts what he told our professional in-house investigation.”

Tenenbaum’s testimony was part of a trial of two other ex-AFSCME bosses on vote-rigging charges: Albert A. Diop, ex-boss of Local 1549 and an AFSCME int’l vice-president, and Martin Lubin DC37’s associate director. In the trial, Tenenbaum for the first time publicly acknowledged taking part in the vote fraud, saying Lubin and Sullivan had told him to greatly exaggerate yes votes in a Local 299 voice vote. Adding to the list of DC37 guilty pleas, Tenenbaum recently pled guilty to vote fraud and fabricating and inflating reimbursement vouchers. He is scheduled to be sentenced to six months in prison and five years of probation.

Prosecutor Jane Tully told to the court that DC37 had a long history of vote fraud, dating to at least 1992. She said that one boss who had pled guilty admitted rigging elections at union locals for $1 a vote. If a candidate for a local’s presidency needed 300 fake votes to win, the price would be $300, she said. DC37’s ex-White-Collar Division director, John McCabe, who has also pled guilty, testified that the presidents of seven or eight locals bowed to top DC37 bosses’ pressure to rig the vote count to help rescue the five-year contract and save Hill from embarrassment. [N.Y. Times 7/8, 7/12/00]