NYC Union Bosses Target Manhattan D.A.

Ex-judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, who has yet to formally announce her bid to unseat veteran Manhattan Dist. Attny. Robert Morgenthau, already boasts an impressive lineup of union endorsements.  The Captains Endowment Association, the Detectives Endowment Assn., NY State Court Officers Assn. and the Uniformed Fire Officers Assn. were among those who publicly backed Snyder at a news conference in mid-Jan.


Bolstered by the law-enforcement unions, Snyder suggested that if elected this fall, she would not spend half the DA’s budget on white collar crime. (Morgenthau aides said it’s actually 30 to 40 percent.)  But there could be some other reasons unions might support Morgenthau’s opponent.  The Detectives Endowment Association has been furious at Morgenthau for vacating the convictions of five men in the Central Park jogger case in 2002 after DNA linked another man to the 1989 attack.


Many other govt. union officials have distrusted Morgenthau ever since he exposed the massive corruption in recent years in District Council 37, the largest municipal union.  Morgenthau has a long record on fighting union corruption and has gone after union bosses in many craft and construction trades.  Those private sector unions seem to take it in stride, and some unionists even applauded the cleanup efforts.


The DC 37 probe was different. There had existed a cozy relationship with just about everyone the giant union did business with its parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, gave it virtually no supervision because it supported national president Gerald McEntee.  The locals of DC 37 were given carte blanche by the council’s executive director, Stanley Hill, as long as they supported him.


And a succession of mayors accepted the council’s endorsements and campaign contributions without questioning how it was spending its money — which comes out of taxpayers’ pockets.  When the DC 37 scandal was in full stench in 1999, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made a feeble attempt to require public workers’ unions to disclose its spending. A law was drafted, but it went nowhere. [Newsday, 1/17/05]