Indicted Boss: My Attorney Said It Was Okay

Union boss Jacob “Jake” West, who spent thousands on personal meals, liquor, and golf trips, is claiming he did so only because his attorney said such expenditures were legitimate union expenses. That was the argument of West’s new attorney, Michele Roberts, at a May 7 pretrial hearing before U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas F. Hogan (D.D.C., Reagan). West, ex-president  and  current president emeritus of the Int’l Ass’n of Iron Workers, allegedly embezzled some $50,000 from the Washington, D.C., based union during his 12 years as president. Roberts was previewing arguments that may be used in West’s trial, which is scheduled for this summer.

A superceding indictment was returned Dec. 12 against West. It contained the same 49 union embezzlement and related counts that were in the Aug. 29 indictment, plus it added one count of conspiracy to embezzle, defraud, and file false reports and one count of obstruction of justice. West is one of seven individuals charged in the IAIW scandal. The other six have pled guilty to embezzling amounts ranging from $7,000 to $350,000 from IAIW and related funds. Also, West has been linked to the Ullico, Inc., insider trading scandal. [Wash. Post 5/9/02, DOL 12/12/01]