Joseph W. Martin, who with his union-boss brother and Minneapolis City Council Member Joe Biernat (DFL) was charged with corruption, pled guilty June 21 to federal charges of aiding and abetting the theft of $9,177 from union coffers. He is the first in the scandal to plead guilty. Martin confessed to using union funds from the United Assn. of Plumbers & Pipe Fitters Local 15 for plumbing work in his own home. His attorney, Gerald Yost, reported that Martin claims his brother, Thomas J. Martin, Local 15 business manager, assured him the transaction was all right.
U.S. Dist. Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn., Clinton) has not set a date for Joseph Martin’s sentencing. That’s probably because he agreed to testify against his brother and Biernat at their trials, which were scheduled for July 1 but are expected to be held at a later date. Biernat is accused of receiving $2,700 in free plumbing work at the same time he and council colleagues were considering the appointment of Thomas Martin to the city board that licenses plumbers. Thomas Martin is accused of embezzling some $43,300 from the local. [Star-Trib. (Minneapolis) 6/22/02]