Southern California Staffer Embezzled $110,000

U.S. Dist. Judge Ronald S.W. Lew (C.D. Cal., Reagan) sentenced Wilfield Bloomfield, United Bhd. of Carpenters Local 1553’s ex-bookkeeper, Oct. 16 to 15 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $110,000 from the local in Hawthorne, Cal. Lew put Bloomfield on 3 years probation and ordered him to pay $110,887 in restitution to the local, which is also known as the Elec. & Space Technicians Local 1553. He pled guilty in June. Bloomfield reportedly stole the money over a 2-year period ending in April 2000.”Bloomfield allegedly stole pre-signed checks, made the checks payable to himself, then cashed them at a nearby check-cashing outlet and used the money for personal purposes. [City News Serv. 10/16/01]

Diop Pleads Guilty to $50,000 Larceny; Local Freed
Albert A. Diop, ex-int’l vice-president of the Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees and president of AFSCME Local 1549, admitted Oct. 12 to stealing more than $50,000 from the local. A day after he was supposed to go on trial for stealing more than $1 million, Diop pled guilty to second-degree grand larceny, admitting that he used a Local 1549 credit card to buy chess sets, cameras, clothing, and other personal items, and to pay for hotels for himself. An internal union audit accused Diop of having his local pay more than $600,000 to Local 1549’s parent, Dist. Council 37, for more than 2 years as rent for a personal penthouse atop DC37 headquarters.

He was scheduled for trial in Oct. 2000, but he was declared mentally unfit at the time. Under the plea, N.Y. judge William Leibovitz in Manhattan will sentence Diop on Nov. 2 to between 3.33 and 11 years in state prison. Diop is already serving 1.5 to 4 years for rigging a union contract vote. He was convicted in July 2000 of a scheme to defraud for stuffing ballot boxes in 1996.

Separately, Local 1549 regained its independence Oct. 9 after more than 30 months under the control of the scandal-scarred DC37. DC37 said it was “fiscally sound,” after having more than a million dollars allegedly swiped from its coffers by Diop and his minions. DC37 itself still remains under the control of AFSCME. DC37 said that with the return of fiscal stability to Local 1549’s annual dues had been reduced from $588 to $480.

The 3-year investigation of DC37 by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau (D) has led to criminal charges against more than 30 union bosses and vendors. More than 20 have been convicted or pled guilty to union corruption charges. The crimes included free pleasure cruises for union bosses and a kickback scheme for union bosses who purchased holiday turkeys for free distribution to DC37 members. [Newsday 10/13, 10/10/01; AP 10/12]

Georgia Boss Admits $29,700 Union Embezzlement
Steve Jones, ex-business manager and secretary-treasurer of Int’l Ass’n of Iron Workers Local 387, pled guilty Oct. 11 in U.S. Dist. Court for the N. Dist. of Ga. to embezzlement. He admitted to 2 counts: embezzling $29,724.73 in union funds and $39,949.42 in apprenticeship funds. [Dep’t of Labor 10/11/01]

Treasurer Embezzled $19,100 from Ohio Local
Ex-treasurer of the Lima (Ohio) Mem’l Prof’l Nurses Ass’n, Sharon K. Schmenk, pled guilty Oct. 5 in U.S. Dist. Court for the N. Dist. of Ohio to a 1 count of embezzling $19,170 in union funds. [Dep’t of Labor 10/5/01]