Indicted Buffalo Boss Dies

Frank H. Ervolino, a corrupt ex-Buffalo union boss who was under federal indictment for union embezzlement, died Nov. 2 in a Fla. hospital after a brief illness. Ervolino, 80, was the longtime head of the now defunct AFL-CIO Hospital & Nursing Home Council, which had 7,000 members and served as an umbrella union for area hotel, restaurant and laundry employees. He also was ex-president of the Laundry & Dry Cleaners Int’l Union, based in Pittsburgh.

He and his wife, Anna May, an ex-union employee, came under scrutiny in the early 1990s for alleged irregularities in union fund balances. In May 2000, a federal grand jury indicted both Ervolinos, charging them with stealing more than $235,000 in union funds while they paid themselves some of the nation’s highest labor salaries and left their unions in financial ruin. The felony indictments against the Ervolinos came a year after a court-appointed monitor of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union found the couple guilty of embezzling funds from two Buffalo unions while they worked half-days, at most, and took four-month yearly Fla. vacations.

A one-time Broadway dancer, Ervolino had been an officer of the Hospital & Nursing Home Council since 1961 and served as its president from 1985-96. The Ervolinos split their time between homes in Crystal Beach, Ontario, and Boynton Beach, Fla. Buffalo attorney Joseph V. Sedita confirmed his client’s death and claimed that he had recently filed a “very substantive” defense motion, which had potential to erode the U.S. Attorney’s case against Ervolino. Ervolino’s death will result in the dismissal of the charges against him. While the companion charges against his wife will still stand, there’s speculation Ervolino’s death could lessen the strength of the government’s case against her.

The Serv. Employees Int’l Union’s Local 1199-Upstate has taken over representation of a majority of the former members of Ervolino’s labor empire, with the laundry workers moving over to the AFL-CIO Laundry & Dry Cleaning Int’l Union. [Buffalo News 11/6/01]