Minn. Bus. Mgr. Implicates 2nd Elected Official in Misuse of Union Funds

Thomas J. Martin pled guilty on Nov. 25 to misusing union funds just four days after City Councilman Joseph Biernat was convicted of accepting $2,700 in free plumbing work from Martin’s union, Local 15 of the United Assn. of Plumbers & Pipefitters. As he pled guilty, Martin revealed that he had also used $3,175 in union funds to pay for plumbing at a second elected official’s home in 1998. He did not reveal the identity of the official in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for Minn., but an attny. for ex-county commissioner Mark Andrew confirmed that FBI agents had questioned the frmr. state head of the Dem. Farmer-Labor party about plumbing work done at his home in May 1998.

In his plea, Martin admitted stealing from the union’s Industry Advance Fund to pay for Biernat’s plumbing. In exchange for his guilty plea to the two counts of misusing union funds, fed. prosecutors have apparently agreed to drop charges that Martin stole about $37,000 from the union of which he once served as Bus. Mgr. U.S. Dist. Judge Ann Montgomery (U.S.D.C. MN, Clinton) ordered a pre-sentence investigation but set no sentencing date. [Minneapolis Star Tribune
11/26/02, 11/27]

Obstruction Added to Indictment of Capital Consultant Salesman
Frmr. investment salesman Dean Kirkland was indicted for obstruction of justice and wire fraud in the Capital Consultants scandal, which cost union pension funds some $350 million when the Portland firm collapsed in 2000.

Kirkland was already under indictment for giving kickbacks in the form of sports tickets and hunting trips to two union officials, one of them his father, in exchange for their steering of pension funds to Capital. On Nov. 21, The U.S. Attny. for the Dist. of Ore., announced the addition of 11 new counts to the indictment. One count alleges that Kirkland destroyed company records after being subpoenaed in Oct. 2000 in violation of 18 U.S.C., Sec. 1503(a).

The rest of the new counts charge Kirkland with falsifying expense reports. In one case, Kirkland allegedly altered an invoice for a hunting club membership in Minn. to read $3,426, instead of the $426 actually charged foir membership. Also indicted and facing trial in March 2003 is the father — Gary Kirkland, frmr. trustee of two pension and benefit funds affiliated with Local 11 of the Ofc. & Prof. Employees Intl. Union — and Robert Legino, a frmr. trustee of benefit plans affiliated with the 8th Dist. of the Intl. Bhd. of Electrical Wrkrs. [The Oregonian 11/22/02, U.S.A.O. Dist. OR 11/21/02]