NW Indiana Carpenters Local Faces Takeover by International Union

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 1005 has a major problem on its hands: The person who runs it is under indictment. Paul Hernandez, president of the Hobart, Ind.-based local, with more than 1,100 members, was charged in federal court in May with 21 counts of theft and wire fraud. Also indicted was Kenneth Castaldi, of Elkton, Wisc., who ran the local’s apprenticeship program. At issue was the pair’s handling of an Indiana Department of Commerce training grant.

A three-member panel of the international union is set to hold a hearing on July 6 to give rank-and-file members the opportunity to voice their concerns. “We’ve been receiving complaints about (Local) 1005 from members for a long time, and they increased after Paul Hernandez was indicted,” said Tony Mroczkiewicz, the union’s Midwest District representative. Hernandez had taken over the local after Gerry Nannenga was elevated to secretary-treasurer of the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters. Nannenga himself was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to taking a bribe to vote in favor of a planned $10 million purchase by the union pension board of a 55-acre tract of vacant land within the Coffee Creek planned community in nearby Chesterton, Ind. The board approved the vote in October 1998 by a 5-3 margin. (Associated Press, 6/23).