Allan Spates failed to show up at the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Nor. Dist. for Ohio on Jan. 12 for a scheduled hearing, and a judge has ordered his arrest on charges on union embezzlement. The frmr. president of Local 5-1250 of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Wrkrs. union (PACE) was indicted last Dec. for embezzling nearly $30,000 and falsifying union records to hide his alleged theft. According to U.S. Marshall Pete Elliott, His Cleveland home is empty except for some children’s toys in the back yard. Spates is married and has five children. He is being sought on a new charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. His wife was an employee of the Cleveland Plain Dealer until her resignation on Jan. 23. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/6/04]
DOL Settles Pension Suit against RI Laborers, Coia Law Firm
Four trustees of the Rhode Island Laborers’ Legal Services Plan agreed to repay $318,181 to that plan to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. Dept. of Labor for alleged violations of federal law regulating private sector employee benefits. U.S. Dist. Judge William E. Smith (RI, G.W. Bush) signed the consent order settling the suit on Jan. 28. One of the law firms paid by the plan to provide legal aid to union members was founded by convicted ex-Laborers boss Arthur Coia.
The 4 trustees, which include Ronald Coia — bus. mgr. of the R.I. Dist. Council of the Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer. — will not be removed from their positions in the legal aid plan, as sought by DOL in the July complaint. But they are required to establish record-keeping procedures to adequately monitor how law firms spend the retainers they get from the union. The order also prohibits conflict-of-interest payments by union trustees to law firms on the basis of a trustee’s financial stake in that firm. Finally, the union will hire an independent consultant will monitor the plan for 12 mos., then provide a blueprint for improving the plan’s “quality and cost-effectiveness.” [DOL, 2/11/04]
Ex-NJ State Union Boss Sentenced for Embezzlement
U.S. Dist. Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh (D. NJ, Clinton) sentenced Frank Ginesi on Feb. 6 to 27 mos. in prison for defrauding the N.J. State Patrolman’s Benevolent Assn. (PBA) of $352,420. Judge Cavanaugh also ordered the 81-yr.-old Ginesi to repay the PBA. But acc. to fed. authorities, the frmr. chief spent the stolen funds long ago, and doesn’t have the money to repay the union now.
Ginesi admitted on April 21 of last year that he used his position to withdraw more than $1 million from the PBA’s accounts from 1991 to 1996, which he shared with two other union officials. Under the terms of Ginesi’s plea agreement, Judge Cavanaugh could have kept the elderly man out of prison. But he responded to Asst. U.S. Attny. Mark J. McCarren’s summary of how Ginesi used the stolen funds to buy jewelry and cars, fund real estate projects and other investments. He also bought his girlfriend a 3 1/2-carat diamond ring. “He was very generous with money that wasn’t his,” McCarren said of Ginesi. [Bergen County Record, 2/7/04]
Ex-Secy.-Treasurer Indicted in Ill. Fed. Court
On Feb. 5, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Nor. Dist. of Ill., William C. Miller, ex-fin. secy.-treasurer of Local Lodge 498 of the Intl. Assn. of Machinists (IAM), was indicted on one count of embezzling $62,015 in union funds and one count of making a false entry in union records. The indictment follows an investigation by the Chicago District Office of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 2/12/04]
Ex-Treasurer Confesses to Embezzlement in Wash. Fed. Court
Linda Stewart of Olympia Washington, once the Secy.-Treasurer of Graphic Communications International Union, Local 182-C, pled guilty on Feb. 6 before U.S. Dist. Judge Franklin D. Burgess (W.Dist. WA, Clinton) to union embezzlement. Stewart faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In addition, Stewart will be required to make restitution to the union in a sum to be determined by the Court. Sentencing has been set for May 7, before Judge Burgess. The plea was announced by U.S. Attny. for the West. Dist. of Washington, John McKay; along with Marita Janiga, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General; and Michael Duvall, District Director, Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
According to court records, Stewart embezzled union funds between June 1999 and March 2003. During the Court hearing, Stewart admitted to withdrawing cash and writing checks to herself, to her husband, and to businesses for personal goods and services. Stewart further acknowledged that, without lawful authority, she took between $68,701 and $73,423. The case was investigated by investigators with the DOL’s Ofc. of Inspector General, and the OLMS. Asst. U.S. Attny. Francis J. Diskin prosecuted the case for the United States. [U.S.A.O. W.D. WA, 2/6/04]