Buffalo, N.Y. Ex-Local President Sentenced for Thefts

Mark Jones was a full-time union leader in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, serving as president of Local 92 of the American Federation of Musicians and secretary-treasurer of the New York State Conference of Musicians.  Unfortunately, he also was a part-time thief, embezzling a combined $75,000 from the two organizations during 2002-05.  On November 28, Jones, 48, was sentenced in federal court to two years probation and six months community service.  He had pleaded guilty back in July to stealing $40,738.17 from Local 92 and $34,672 from the state conference.  He since has made full restitution.  An audit by the Department of Labor turned up a pattern of irregularities, which in turn triggered a criminal investigation.  Jones also had been a board member of the Musicians International Union and, for a year, head of the Buffalo AFL-CIO Labor Council.  He resigned from the latter organization, citing as the main reason an ongoing battle with depression.  (OLMS, 12/1/06; other sources).


Ex-Niagara Falls, N.Y. Steward Sentenced for Making Threats

Yet another member of the union that terrorized contractors and nonunion workers in the Niagara Falls, N.Y. area has been sent packing.  Paul Bellreng, former steward of Local 91 of the Laborers International Union of North America, received a 56-month sentence in federal court on November 22 for threatening a nonunion asbestos worker who only hours later would have his apartment firebombed.  Bellreng, 52, pled guilty in August, when he and federal prosecutors agreed to recommend to U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara that he serve no more than 60 months in prison.  Bellreng, along with more than a dozen other workers and officials in the local, were arrested and charged in 2002 with various acts of violence, threats and property destruction.  


The bombing victim, Goran Stevanovich, had testified that Bellreng once asked, by name, how Stevanovich’s two children were doing back home in New Jersey.  It was a threat, not a courtesy call.  He also stated for the record that union members threatened him and other workers daily as they crossed a picket line on an asbestos-removal job at the Niagara Falls water plant.  Three Labor 91 officials remain to be sentenced in this long-running racketeering case.  (Buffalo News, 11/23/06).