Ex-International President Indicted for $50,000 Embezzlement

The ex-top boss of the Int’l Ass’n of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers was charged Aug. 28 with embezzling more than $50,000 in union funds to cover costs of golf outings, dinner parties, vacations, liquor shipments, and other personal expenses. Jake West pled not guilty to union embezzlement and other corruption charges in a 49-count indictment. West resigned in Feb. after running BSORIW for twelve years. He is the fifth BSORIW boss nabbed in the scandal.

He was arrested by FBI agents while having dinner with friends at the Prime Rib restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C., a place where prosecutors said he spent nearly $7,000 of the union’s money for personal meals and parties. Allegedly, the Prime Rib expenses included $1,072 for a meal with relatives, $1,351 for a birthday party, and $948 for a graduation party. West’s attorney, Cary M. Feldman, criticized authorities for not permitting West to surrender at U.S. Dist. Court. West was treated to a night in jail before being released on personal recognizance by U.S. Magis. Judge Alan Kay. Feldman says he repeatedly offered to bring West to court if he were to be indicted. Federal law enforcement officials didn’t comment on the timing of West’s arrest.

The charges against West include allegations that he and other bosses used the union funds 1992-98 for personal activities and then failed to report the activities on expense reports submitted to the Dep’t of Labor. Among other things, West is accused of spending more than $10,000 in union money for golf outings. West also allegedly used union money to pay for holiday weekends and other vacations for himself and relatives, and to stock a home he kept in Allisonia, Va., with thousands of dollars worth of liquor.

Others charged in the scandal are: Darrel E. Shelton, ex-gen. organizer, who pled guilty to embezzling as much as $120,000; Fred G. Summers, the former executive director of organizing, who admitted embezzling more than $50,000; James E. Cole, ex-general secretary , who pled guilty to embezzling more than 10,000; and Michael J. Brennan, the ex-head of the Iron Workers Political Action League, who pled guilty to charges involving the theft of $7,000. Brennan received probation. Shelton, Summers, and Cole are awaiting sentencing. [Wash. Post 8/30/01]