Ex-Garment Union Bookkeeper in NE Penn. Confesses to Embezzlement

Seven years after the Intl. Ladies Garment Wrkrs. Union was merged into the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees, federal courts are still dealing with the leftover corruption. On July 23, a frmr bookkeeper for the garment union pled guilty  in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Scranton to embezzling more than $28,000 from the union’s now-defunct district council.

Diane Lewis used her position to steal funds from the N.E. Penn. Dist. Cncl. of the Ladies Garment Union from July 1995 to August 1997.  During that time, that union and the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) were merging to form UNITE. Lewis faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. [U.S.A.O. M.D. Pa, 7/23/02]

Ex-Organizer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement in Jacksonville
On July 3, in the U.S. Dist. Court in Jacksonville, Fla., Dwight West III, a former organizer for Carpenters District Council 78, pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with  embezzling $30,343.86 from Carpenters Local 164 while serving as the appointed treasurer of the local. He had been charged on July 12, 2002, following an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office. [U.S.A.O. M.D. Fla., DOL]

Illinois Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $13,000
Wesley J. Sharp, ex-financial secretary-treasurer of Paper, Allied-Indus., Chem. & Energy Workers Int’l Union Local 647 in Des Plaines, Ill., was sentenced on July 29 to 36 months probation and ordered to make restitution of $9,362 to the union that he embezzled from. Sharp had already agreed to repay $5,000 to Local 647’s corruption insurance company, Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Md, and $4,362.86 to the union. He must also complete 100 hours of community service.

Sharp pled guilty May 6 to one count of embezzlment. According to the plea agreement, Sharp wrote 53 unauthorized checks on the local’s checking account between Mar. 1, 1996 and Dec. 29, 1997 totaling $13,062.86. Each check required two signatures of union officers.  On 49 checks, Sharp forged the signature of a second  union officer before negotiating the check. On the other four checks, he simply left off the second signature but was still able to cash the check. He made all the checks payable to himself and converted the union’s funds to his personal use. [USAO N.D. Ill.
5/9/02; DOL 8/8/02]

Ex-Secy-Treas. in NY Admits to Writing Union Checks to Self
Thomas A. Lannon pled guilty in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Albany to one count of union embezzlement on Aug. 8. Lannon admitted that from July 1997 to June 2001, he used his position as Secy.-Treasurer of Local Lodge 1562 of the Intl. Assn of Machinists to write checks to himself from the union’s bank accounts, and pocketing cash from union promotions such as raffles and tee-shirts. As part of his plea, Lannon agreed to repay the $13,175 he stole from the union. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Binghamton on Dec. 5. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Buffalo Ofc. of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards[U.S.A.O. N.D. NY 8/8/02, DOL]

Ex-Pres. Indicted for Embezzlement in Wisc.
An ex-union President in Sheboygan Falls was indicted Aug. 6 by a fed. grand jury on four counts of embezzlement and falsification of records. From 1995 to 1999, Steven Pautz was President of Lodge 251 of the Intl. Assn. of Machinists. According to the indictment, Pautz stole $12,257 by writing unauthorized checks to himself, and by making unauthorized withdrawls from the Lodge’s savings accounts. In some cases, Pautz allegedly forged the signature of the financial secy. on the checks. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Milwaukee Ofc. of the U.S. Dept. of labor’s Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards [U.S.A.O. E.D. WI 8/6/02, DOL]

Ex-Ga. Secy.-Treas. Confesses to Embezzlement
The frmr Secy.-Treasurer of American Postal Workers Local 2695 pled guilty on July 25 to embezzling nearly $5,000 from the union, and misusing the union’s credit card. Dee Dee Gregory Lacy entered her plea in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Rome, Georgia.

On one count, Lacy admitted to using her position to steal directly from the union’s funds between Jan. and Oct. 2000. Then, between May 25 and June 11, 2001, Lacy made more than $1,000 of personal purchases using the union’s credit card. Apart from the union thefts, Lacy also admitted to stealing from the U.S. Postal Service. In addition to the $8,772 Lacy has already repaid, she agreed on the 25th to repay another $1,300 to the U.S.P.S. and $900 to Capital One, which issued the union credit card. Lacy will be sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Harold L. Murphy (Carter) in Rome on Oct. 4. [U.S.A.O. N.D. GA, 7/25/02:  DOL, 8/8/02]

Cuomo Caught with Contributions from Mob Associate
After criticizing his rivals for taking contributions from companies caught in Wall St. scandals, NY gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo promised on Aug. 13 to return contributions from a mob associate of the Intl. Longshoremen Assn.

Julius and Steven Nasso were indicted, along with 17 members of the Gambino crime family for racketeering and extortion within the ILA on June 3. Vincent allegedly joined with other monsters to intimidate trustees of the ILA’s health plan into awarding a prescription service contract to a company partly owned by Vincent. Both Nassos also allegedly attempted to extort a well-known movie star and director into including Julius in his next project, and paying $150,000 to a Gambino associate for every film he made.

The two brothers also contributed $44,500 to Cuomo’s campaign last year, acc. to the New York Daily News,whose questioning prompted Cuomo spokesman Peter Ragone’s promise to return the contributions. [8/14/02]

St. Louis Local Put in Trusteeship
The Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters put Local 682 in St. Louis under truteeship Aug. 13, thus suspending all local officials from their positions, incl. the President, R.J. “Duck” Wurst. The action came on the heels of allegations of financial mismanagement. Under the Teamsters’ constitution, a hearing will be held within 30 days by a three-member panel chosen by Intl. President James P. Hoffa. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch 8/14/02]