On Sept. 25, 2002, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Eastern Dist. of Calif., Jeremias Lopez, former business manager of Laborers Local 220, was sentenced to ten months confinement followed by twelve months of supervised release, ordered to pay $10,814 in restitution to the union’s bonding company, ordered to pay a special assessment of $25, and ordered to be subject to regular drug testing. The court recommended that the sentence be served at the Turning Point drug/alcohol rehabilitation center in Bakersfield.
On July 10, 2002, Lopez pled guilty to falsifying union records and admitted embezzling receipts from the Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer. of between $10,000 and $30,000 following an investigation by the Los Angeles branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [DOL OLMS 10/3/02]
Ex-MI Pres. Admits Theft from Defunct Union
Isador Hampton, frmr. president of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 835, pled guilty on Oct. 3 to embezzling $10,389 from the union, even after it was merged into another Local. Hampton entered his plea in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the East. Dist. of Mich.
According to the plea agreement, Hampton was President of the Madison Heights Local from 1989 until June 30, 2000. Beginning in March 2000, Hampton directed the Fin. Secy. to co-sign checks made out to Hampton, ostensibly for salary and union expenses. After Local 835 merged into Local 771 in July, Hampton continued to issue checks to himself from the still-active bank acct. of Local 835. He was indicted on Sept. 17 after an investigation by the Detroit branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmnt. Standards [U.S.A.O. E.D. Mich. 10/3/02]
Ex-Secy.-Treas. Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Funds from Texas Local
Pedro Ojeda, frmr. Secy.-Treasurer of the Amer. Fed. of Musicians Local 23 in San Antonio, confessed to stealing $10,250 from the union between March 1998 and April 1999. Ojeda entered his plea before U.S. Dist. Judge Edward C. Prado (W.D. TX, Reagan) on Sept. 19.
According to the Factual Basis submitted with the plea, Ojeda began keeping irregular hrs. at the union’s headquarters, and often failed to show up at all. Finally, Ojeda confessed his embezzlement to the union president, and began repaying the money he had stolen by writing himself extra paychecks, checks he cashed for himself, and unauthorized withdraws from the union’s savings acct. Ojeda has repaid $10,000 to the union.
Ojeda was indicted July 22 on one count of embezzlement in violation of U.S.C. 29, Sec. 501(c), and one count of falsification of union records in violation of U.S.C. 29, Sec. 439(c). In return for his guilty plea to the embezzlement charge, the U.S. Attny. agreed to ask Judge Prado to dismiss the falsification charge, and to recommend a lighter sentence based on Ojeda’s acceptance of responsibility. [U.S.A.O. W.D. Tex. 9/19/02]
Minneapolis Fin. Secy. Charged with Embezzlement
The U.S. Attny. for the Dist. of Minn. filed an Information on Oct. 1 against Jerome J. Dube, alleging that he embezzled more than $14,000 from the local union he served as Fin. Secy.
According to the U.S. Attny., Dube made cash advances of $8,584 on the credit card, issued by United Bhd. of Carpenters Local 1865, without pre-approval by the Local’s Exec. Bd. from Nov. 1999 through June 2000. He also allegedly withdrew $5,593 from the union’s checking acct. for claimed salary and reimbursement expenses from Dec. 1998 through July 2000. Finally, in June 2000, Dube is alleged to have cashed a check from the union’s Strike Fund for $310. [U.S.A.O. D. Minn. 10/1/02]
Ex-Secy.-Treas. Sentenced for Theft, Falsification of Union Records
On Sept. 23, 2002, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Middle Dist. of Tenn., Mike Bruce, frmr. secy.-treasurer of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers (PACE), Local 5-80 in Franklin, was sentenced to one month of home detention followed by three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $6,923 in restitution to the union. He previously pled guilty to making false entries in required union records to conceal his embezzlement of $6,923 in union funds after he was charged in a two-count indictment following an investigation by the Nashville branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmnt. Standards. [DOL OLMS 10/3/02]
Ohio Boss Sentenced to 3 Yrs. Probation, Restitution of $4,666
On Sept. 26, 2002, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the South. Dist. of Ohio, Judith F. Hamilton, frmr. fin. secy. of Electrical Workers (IUE) Local 713, was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $4,666.40 in remaining restitution. On May 9, 2002, she pled guilty to embezzling $6,766.40 in union funds following an investigation by the Cleveland branch of the U.S. Ofc.of Labor-Mgmt. Standards [DOL OLMS 10/3/02]
Ex-Ky Pres. Used Union Funds to Pay Off Car Lease
Kenneth Stacy pled guilty on Sept. 26 in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Lexington, Ky., to one felony count of union embezzlement. The frmr. president of Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters Local 651 admitted to a scheme in which the Lexington union paid the remaining $10,360 of the lease on Stacy’s personal car in Feb. 1998. He was Local 651’s president until May 2001. Stacy entered his guilty plea before U.S. Dist. Judge Jennifer B. Coffman (East. Dist. Ky., Clinton). He faces a maximum punishment of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release, in addition to being barred from serving as a union officer for 13 years. Judge Coffman set Stacy’s sentencing for Dec. 12, 2002 in Lexington.
Handling the investigation and prosecution, respectively, were: Daniel Walsh, Dist. Director of the Cincinnati branch of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards, and Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, U.S. Attny. for the East. Dist. of Ky. [U.S.A.O. E.D. Ky, DOL OLMS]
New Election Ordered in CA Machinists Local
On Sept. 13, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the North. Dist. of Calif., Judge Ronald M. Whyte (H.W. Bush) granted the U.S. Secy. of Labor’s motion for summary judgment, declared the Dec. 2, 2000 election conducted by Intl. Assn. of Machinists (IAM) Local Lodge 2228 in Sunnyvale, Calif., null and void, and ordered the a new election for the office of president under DOL supervision.
The case was brought after an investigation by the San Fran. branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards revealed that the successful candidate for the office of president was ineligible to run. During the OLMS investigation, the union installed the losing candidate as president. The IAM hierarchy placed Local Lodge 2228 in trusteeship and conducted a new election not under the supervision of the Secretary. Judge Whyte held that the Secy’s right to a supervised election cannot be defeated by any subsequent independent action of the union, whether it occurs before the Secy. files an action or afterward. [DOL OLMS, 9/26/02]
DOL Orders New Election after Candidate Uses Postal Facilities in Campaign
On Oct. 4, 2002, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the East. Dist. of Penn., the Secy. of Labor filed a civil suit seeking a new election for the office of branch president of Local 308 of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union after an investigation established that a candidate for office in the February 2002 election utilized U.S. Postal Service facilities in Philadelphia for printing her campaign literature. The union is affiliated with the Laborers Intl. Union of N. America. The literature was distributed to at least 50 members in a race decided by a 12-vote margin. The case was brought following an investigation by the Philadelphia branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmnt. Standards. [DOL OLMS 10/9/02]
DOL Rejection of Teamsters’ Complaint Upheld in Fed. Ct.
On Sept. 30, 2002, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Sou. District of NY, the court granted the Secy’s. motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by members of Teamsters Local 97 contesting the Dept. of Labor’s (DOL) rejection of their complaint of Local 97’s December 2000 officer elections. DOL denied the election complaint because of the complainants’ failure to exhaust internal union remedies.
The court adopted the DOL position that the complainants were required to appeal the decision of the Teamsters Joint Council within fifteen days to the General Executive Board as required by the intl. union’s constitution. The court rejected the complainants’ arguments that the appeal requirement was unreasonably burdensome and too long and complex to follow. [DOL OLMS 10/9/02]
Ex-Iowa Bus. Mgr. Admits to Union Embezzlement
Karl Roush, ex-Bus. Mgr. of Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Local 497 was arraigned in the Linn County (Iowa) court on Sept. 11 on one charge of Theft in the 2nd degree. According to the County Attny., Roush admitted converting $1,822 of union funds to his own use between Feb. and July of 2001. He pled not guilty at his arraignment. The charges were brought after an investigation by the St. Louis branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [Linn County Ct. 9/11/02, DOL OLMS 10/3/02]
Miss. Union Chief Indicted for Using Union Funds for Personal Travel
Willie Corbett, Local Chrmn. of Maintenance of Way Employees, Lodge 616 in Union, Miss., was indicted on Sept. 23 for concealment of union records. According to the indictment, handed down in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Sou. Dist. of Miss., Corbett hid details of his travel on union records required to be maintained under the Landrum-Griffin Act (U.S.C. 29, Sec. 436), and passed off transportation receipts for a second traveler as union-related. The charges were brought following an investigation by the New Orleans branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmnt. Standards. [U.S.A.O. S.D. Miss. 9/23/02, DOL OLMS 10/3/02]
Whistleblower on Teamster Racketeering in Mass. Film Industry Vindicated
Robin Dawson, who warned of local Teamsters’ strong-arming of the film industry, now runs the reconstituted bureau in charge of movie-making in Massachusetts. And on Sept. 26, she and other business, film and tourism leaders celebrated the first feature film to be shot in Mass. in two years. The movie, Mystic River, is being directed by Clint Eastwood.
As Director of the old Mass. Film Bureau, Dawson warned ex-govs. William Weld (R), and Paul Celluci (R), that shakedowns and expense padding by Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters Local 25 were hindering filmmaking in Mass, acc. to records obtained by the Boston Herald under a Freedom of Information Act request. Allegedly, the Local’s boss, George Cashman, even approved the beating of a female snack truck driver who refused to turn her concession contract over to a teamster on the set of the movie, “What’s the Worst that Could Happen?”
In March of this year, it was revealed that Dawson was cooperating with a federal investigation of the Local and Cashman. She received several threats to her personal safety, and was offered a safe house for her protection. While the investigation of the union’s heavy-handed tactics in movie-making continues, Cashman has already been indicted on separate charges of bribery and embezzlement related to the Local’s Health & Insurance Plan.
The Film Bureau was shut down in July, but has now been re-formed with Dawson as the Exec. Director. [Hollywood Reporter 9/27/02]