New Jersey Local Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

David Feeback enjoyed nights out on the town. He soaked it all up – fine food, fine champagne, and even a few belly dancers for good measure. But now the former president of Local 69 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE) may have to get used to prison fare.  That’s because all that fun came out of raids on the union cookie jar. On May 3 Feeback pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to two counts of embezzling anywhere from $70,000 to $120,000 from the local’s welfare fund during 1998 to 2001. His 2,900-member local, based in Secaucus, N.J., represents workers at Meadowlands Giants Stadium and other New Jersey locations.

The local already had been in hot water with the feds. In 1996 a court-ordered monitor took over the union, removing its president, John Agathos, and vice-president, John Agathos, Jr., from office. His successor, Feeback, made $542,000 in severance payments to the Agathos father and son team, a move that got him the boot by HERE President John Wilhelm in March 2002. Once Feeback’s free-spending ways came to light not long afterward, federal oversight returned.

At first, Feeback used the union credit card to finance his escapades, submitting monthly billing statements to the local for reimbursement. But by mid 1999, he was maxed out at $15,000. Not a problem – he got a friend to loan him another card. The good life resumed, and so did the union reimbursements. That September, over a single three-night period, Feeback spent $16,000 at Molfetas Greek restaurant and nightclub in South Hackensack, buying cases of champagne and throwing hundreds of dollars in tips at belly dancers. He didn’t neglect New York City nightspots either, frequenting high-class joints like Gallagher’s Steak House, Tavern on the Green and the Grecian Cave. Now a resident of Charlotte, N.C., Feeback is scheduled for sentencing August 10. He faces a maximum of five years in prison on each of the two embezzlement counts. (Bergen Record, 5/4).