Michael Forde (in photo), head of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, has led a charmed life for the past year. On April 27, 2004, a jury found Forde and a co-defendant guilty of taking a bribe from a mob-controlled contractor. However, because of a legal technicality, he continues to run the 25,000-member union. Forde was among more than three dozen persons indicted in September 2000 by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
According to prosecutors, a mob-linked contractor testified that Forde took money to look the other way while he used nonunion labor on a midtown hotel project. After the conviction, Forde’s lawyers asked that the verdict be set aside because of jury misconduct allegations. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Atlas held hearings on the matter, and put off sentencing seven times between last June and November. He has yet to rule on the jury misconduct allegations.
Forde, who earns nearly $225,000 a year as head of the Carpenters’ district council, has been a prominent member of the Hudson Yards Coalition, a group of business and labor leaders seeking to build a new stadium for the NFL’s New York Jets. He has maintained his innocence throughout. [New York Daily News, 3/31/05]