Michael “Mickey” Annucci is a lucky man, all things considered. Back in 2006, a Manhattan federal grand jury indicted him for embezzling a reported “at least” $10,000 from the union for which he served as shop steward, Local 157 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. That was a fraction of the actual take. This past February, a trial jury convicted Annucci on charges of conspiracy, embezzlement, wire fraud, and unlawful acceptance of payments from a union representative. The lost wages and benefits due to Annucci’s actions was more than $500,000. That sum in turn was only about a fourth of the overall amount taken by a contractor with whom he had worked. This past May 9, he received his sentence before U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones: five months in prison and five months of home confinement. Given the facts of the case, it could have been a lot worse.
Annucci for more than a half-decade served as shop steward at a building in Manhattan at which a Jersey City-based firm, L&D Installers, Inc. had a contract to install furniture. As steward, he served as the union’s “eyes and ears,” reporting any and all violations by the contractor with whom the union had a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). He was required to submit weekly reports to the union office indicating all hours worked by each union member on site. Union auditors rely on steward reports to ensure all scheduled benefit contributions are paid. In the case of Carpenters Local 157, they apparently weren’t.
Prosecutors charged that during the period July 2001-February 2006, Annucci, with the full cooperation of the contractor, knowingly omitted about 22,000 man-hours from reports he’d sent to the union relating to work at 11 Madison Avenue, former home of Metropolitan Life Insurance and now the New York offices of Credit Suisse. His sweetheart deal with L&D cheated union carpenters out of at least $500,000 in wages and benefits, while he himself received full benefits and excessive overtime pay. Annucci wasn’t in a chipper mood when arrested early morning September 29, 2006, telling federal agents in colorful language where they could go shove it. Annucci’s successor and co-defendant, Frank Proscia, continued the arrangement until June 2006, eventually pleading guilty in October 2007 to one count of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of union funds. He received a sentence of five years in prison plus two years of supervised release, the first five months of which would be served in home confinement. He also must pay a $5,000 fine.
If only this was the extent of the thefts. In fact, prosecutors determined that L&D overall had withheld more than $2 million in scheduled wages and benefits. The company, in violation of the CBA, had used a nonunion payroll and evaded benefit payments. Last December, the firm made a payment of $2,084,654 to the Carpenters union to satisfy claims. It’s not clear at this point if anyone at L&D will be prosecuted. The owner, Gary DiMaria, recently died of natural causes. “Gary is probably in hell,” Mike Annucci told arresting officers nearly two years ago. That’s probably the same place where any number of members of Local 157 would like to send Annucci. (U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Semiannual Report to Congress, 10/1/07-3/31/08; North Country Gazette, 5/9/08; U.S. Justice Department, 2/7/08; other sources).