Ex-Trustee Sentenced for Role in Capital Consultants Scandal

On July 15, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Ore., Dennis Paul Talbott, former secy.-treasurer of Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, was sentenced to 3 yrs. probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.  Talbott pled guilty to 1 count of accepting a gratuity in connection with his duties as a trustee of an employee benefit plan.  The gratuity he accepted involved hunting and fishing trips paid for by Capital Consultants (CCL).  CCL was involved in the loss of over 350 million dollars-mostly from union pension funds.  The conviction follows an investigation by the Seattle Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards, the IRS, the FBI, the Dept. of Labor’s Ofc. of Inspector General and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. [OLMS, 7/28/04]


DOL Wins New Election in Puerto Rico

On July 13, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Puerto Rico, the Ct. granted the Secy. of Labor’s motion for summary judgment allowing the Secy. to conduct a new election for president of the Sindicato de Equipo Pesado de Puerto Rico.  The Court determined that the local union improperly disqualified an individual nominated to run against the incumbent president.  It held that the union unreasonably and implausibly interpreted its constitution.  The union disqualified the individual because it believed that the lifelong membership status of the individual, who was exempt from paying membership dues, was affected by his return to work.  However, the individual’s employer was not a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement with the local and, thus, the individual could not be disqualified from the election on this basis.  The court ordered a new election for president under supervision of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards.  The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Guaynabo Resident Investigator Office. [OLMS, 7/27/04]