New York Boss Sentenced, Benefit Funds Lost $1 Million

On Mar. 1, a boss and a member of the United Bhd. of Carpenters were indicted, pled guilty, and sentenced in Manhattan Supreme Court for taking bribes to let a contractor use nonunion workers at two Manhattan job sites. Stephen Goworek was sentenced to six months in jail and 54 months’ probation, and Thomas Riccardo got five years’ probation. A third, John Mingione, pled not guilty and will return to court. The scheme allegedly caused the union’s pension and welfare fund to be deprived of more than $1 million that was supposed to be paid by the contractor.

The N.Y. State Atty. Gen. charged Goworek in an 11-count indictment, which included Grand Larceny in the First & Second Degrees, four counts of Bribe Receiving by a Labor Official, and five counts of Violating a Fiduciary Duty. Before his arrest, Goworek managed UBC’s Stamps Enforcement Unit of the Benefit Funds of the Dist. Council of N.Y. & Vicinity. As the Stamps Enforcement manager, he was responsible for ensuring that contractors remitted the payments to the benefit funds required by contract.

Mingione was a UBC shop steward, and Riccardo was on the payroll at one site. Both allegedly acted with Goworek in the bribery and grand larceny scheme. All three faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree. The indictments were the result of a nine-month state and federal probe. It targeted remodeling projects at the Warwick Hotel and Carlton Hotel. A contractor working on those projects cooperated in the probe, which included audio and video taping the defendants’ demands for bribes, as well as the actual bribe payments. Some bribes were delivered by undercover agents from N.Y.’s Statewide Organized Crime Task Force.

 “My office will continue to work with [the Dep’t of Labor’s] Inspector General to ensure that the labor laws are enforced, that workers receive the wages and benefits which they are entitled to, and that the integrity of the collective bargaining process is protected,”  N.Y. State Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer said. [N.Y. State Atty. Gen.’s Office 3/1/02; Daily News (N.Y.) 3/2/02]