Illinois Boss Gets 2 Years for Taking $350,000

Patrick Stiles, ex-boss of Aurora (Ill.) Firefighters Local 99, pled guilty Mar. 21 to felony theft in connection with the embezzlement of union and firefighters association funds and was sentenced to 2 years in prison. The plea agreement, entered in Kane County Circuit Court before Judge Donald C. Hudson, requires Stiles to pay $244,000 in further restitution to Aurora Firefighters Local 99 and the Aurora Firefighters Relief Ass’n. Stiles was released on bail and ordered to turn himself in to authorities on Apr. 23.

Aurora police testified at a bail hearing in Oct. that Stiles had stolen about $350,000 from the two organizations, but the restitution was based on a $275,000 settlement in a related civil suit. Stiles, a firefighter, resigned Jan. 15 after 11 years with the Aurora Fire Dep’t. He was secretary and treasurer of the Relief Ass’n from 1995 to 1999 and held the same post at Local 99 from 1992 until his resignation.

“We won’t feel it’s complete until he pays the penalty–doing the time–and pays us back the money he owes us,” said Local 99 president Gregory Frieders. Stiles agreed in Apr. 2001 to pay $275,000 to the two groups in a civil suit they filed.  He agreed to turn over about $64,000 in retirement funds. The groups have received about $31,000 from his pension , but await payment from a deferred compensation fund. Stiles has made no further payments. Though a lien has been place on his home, unions officials said they doubt he has equity in that home.

When the allegations surfaced, only one signature was required to sign Relief Ass’n checks. Union checks required two signatures, but checks that only had Stiles’ signature still were cashed, Frieders said. Since then, both organizations have reportedly revamped their accounting procedures. [Chi. Trib. 3/22/02]

Buffalo Boss-Widow Pleads Guilty, Repays $144,400
Anna M. Ervolino, ex-vice president of Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 4 in Buffalo, pled guilty Mar. 22 to one count of willful and unlawful failing to disclose for a benefit plan annual report a payment to a party in interest. She and her husband, the late Frank Ervolino, ex-local president, were indicted on May 16, 2000, on multiple charges of embezzlement and conspiracy relating to the local, an associated union, and their benefit plans. The indictments alleged that  some $235,000 was stolen.

The indictments came a year after HERE’s court-appointed monitor found that the couple embezzled some $491,472 from Local 4 and two other unions by allegedly working half-days, at most, and took a four-month annual vacation in Fla. as well as by other bogus salary, bonus, and loan scams. Frank was also the longtime head of the now defunct AFL-CIO Hospital & Nursing Home Council in Buffalo and the Laundry & Dry Cleaners Int’l Union, based in Pittsburgh. Anna has reportedly paid $144,470.79 in restitution to the plans. Frank died Nov. 2, without ever pleading guilty or facing trial. [DOL 3/22/02; Buffalo News 3/21/99]

Nevada Boss Indicted for $134,500 Theft
Deborah Partida, ex-secretary-treasurer of Am. Postal Workers Union Local 761 in Las Vegas, was indicted Mar. 12 on two counts of embezzling $132,824 from Local 761 and $1,764 from the APWU Nev. State Ass’n. She was also  indicted on two counts of making false statements to federal agents in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. [DOL 3/12/02]

“14 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that union members can be compelled only to pay dues and fees that are directly related to the cost of collective bargaining and contract administration, that they cannot be forced to finance a union’s political and lobbying activity.

Yet the AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions refuse to comply with the high court’s Beck decision.  Much like bigoted public officials in the Old South refused to accept the court’s landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision and instead blocked schoolhouse doors from black youngsters. Fortunately for those black youngsters, they had the power of the federal government on their side. Federal troopers made sure the high court’s Brown decision was enforced.

By contrast, the federal government is not nearly so vigilant in enforcing the Beck rights of politically dissenting union members.”