Patient Broker Admits to Kickback

Douglas A. Miller, an executive involved in illegally brokering patients into treatment centers in Largo and Tarpon Springs, Fla., pled guilty Dec. 15 to making a kickback to a union boss and agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution and fines. Miller admitted to making a $3,000 payment through a firm called Management III to Lindsey Huddleston. Huddleston was the “community services director” for the Detroit Air Transport Workers Union Local 141, and responsible for intervening with union members suffering from addiction or psychiatric problems.

Huddleston originally was charged with bribery and racketeering, then pled guilty in Jan. 1999 to reduced charges of taking an illegal kickback. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 and restitution of $12,882. Reportedly, Huddleston also brokered a dozen patients into Colonial Hosp. in Va. in 1992 for $22,268. The facility was found guilty of violating Medicare laws and was stripped of its certification and went into bankruptcy. [St. Pete. Times 12/16/00]

Kansas City Boss Sentenced for $18,000 Theft
Roger L. Mathisen, ex-boss of Int’l Ass’n of Fire Fighters Local I-34 in Kansas City, was sentenced Dec. 8 to a mere four months in a halfway house for embezzling more than $18,000 in union funds. He pled guilty to one count of felony embezzlement in Aug. Mathisen must further spend three years under supervision – the first  four months under house arrest – after his release from the halfway house. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $15,295 in restitution to Local I-34.

Reportedly, during his two-year stint as union president, Mathisen made about $14,000 in unauthorized withdrawals  using a union debit card. Overpayment for Mathisen’s expenses and unauthorized stipends accounted for the rest of the $18,000. [K.C. Star 12/9/00]

“The fact that U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy asked the [R.I.] Supreme Court to allow disgraced labor leader Arthur Coia to remain a member of the bar in good standing and continues to seek his advice raises tough questions about the congressman, Coia, and our political system.

…[T]here is something distasteful about Kennedy’s views….[I]nstead of seeking leniency for Coia in the disbarment matter, Kennedy could have told him to buzz off, that, while he has high regard for the Laborers, Coia’s criminal activities proved to be an embarrassment both to the union and the party.

But even if you accept that the letter was a favor for past services, or written purely for humanitarian reasons, it is alarming that Kennedy continues to rely on Coia for advice on fundraising and other matters. Kennedy aide Tony Marcella said of Coia, ‘He knows the way Washington works.’

I say: If you commit a felony, you shouldn’t enjoy the luxury of being consulted by your congressman. Kennedy has 500,000 other constituents. Can’t he find someone who knows his way around Washington but isn’t a criminal?”

– M. Charles Bakst, Columnist, Providence J.-Bull., Dec. 5, 2000.