A federal grand jury indicted ex-president and business manager of Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am. Local 5, Frank B. Zeuberis, Nov. 9 for embezzling $473,106 in union funds. Asst. U.S. Atty. Mark J. Vogel said Zeuberis was arrested Nov. 9 at his home in St. John, Ind. He was released on a $20,000 recognizance bond after an appearance before a federal magistrate in Hammond, Ind. The Chicago Hts., Ill., based local has had a long history of corruption and mob influence.
The indictment includes one count of racketeering, 11 counts of embezzling union funds, and 16 counts of keeping false union records. Reportedly, Zeuberis illegally enriched himself, his wife Joann Zeuberis, who was a clerk at Local 5, and James A. DiForti, secretary-treasurer of the local during the mid-1990s. Allegedly, on 30 occasions, he illegally granted salary increases, paid vacations and bonuses, benefiting himself, his wife, and DiForti.
Zeuberis allegedly supported this fraudulent activity by creating false executive board and membership meeting minutes containing authorizations for salary increases, paid vacations, and bonuses. In addition, Zeuberis allegedly created false authorizations for vehicle expense reimbursements and auto repairs. Zeuberis’ career with LIUNA ended in Oct. 1998, when Local 5 entered into a supervision agreement with LIUNA.
DiForti held his LIUNA post until 1997 when he was charged with the 1988 murder of William Benham, who had refused to repay a $10,000 “juice” loan and threatened to tell authorities about DiForti’s alleged loan-sharking activities. DiForti died in June at age 55 before he went on trial for the murder. A 1999 lawsuit by the Dep’t of Justice alleged DiForti was a lieutenant to “outfit” boss John Monteleone and in charge of gambling and juice-loan and street-tax collections for the “26th Street crew.” The suit alleged DiForti had been dispatched by Monteleone to take over Local 5 and to conduct organized crime operations in the south suburbs. [BNA 11/14/00; Chi. Trib. 11/10/00]
Kansas Boss Accused of $12,900 Embezzlement
A federal grand jury in Kansas City, Kan., indicted ex-business manager and secretary-treasurer of LIUNA Local 1290, Joseph C. Rider, on 10 counts of embezzling union funds. From Nov. 1995 to Mar. 2000, Rider allegedly spent $12,976 on the union’s credit card for personal use without making reimbursements. Reportedly, these purchases included airline tickets, Las Vegas shows, NASCAR tickets, a rental car and hotel expenses.
Additionally, Rider previously was president of the Western Missouri and Kansas Laborers’ District Council. LIUNA removed Rider from his Local 1290 positions at last year. Rider was the third generation in his family to run Local 1290. [K.C. Star 11/17/00]