Shawn Clark used his union American Express card to entertain clients at strip clubs. Now the party is officially over. Clark, formerly business agent for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 455 in Somerville, New Jersey, was sentenced on December 9 in Trenton federal court to 28 months in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling union funds during a seven-year period. He also will have to make restitution in an amount between $72,000 and $102,000, the exact sum to be determined in court later on. He was convicted by a trial jury back in May.
Federal prosecutors had alleged that Clark, who took over the 600-member Carpenters local from his father in the mid-Nineties, diverted around $85,000 from his union to personal use, with $65,000 of that representing bar and meal tabs for more than 450 visits to various New Jersey go-go bars during December 2000-December 2007. He was fired from his union post in 2008 following an internal audit. Clark had maintained these visits represented legitimate union-related business get-togethers, and thus were no more sinister than similar business deals done at conventional restaurants. Union rank and file, however, might have objected. Either way, it was a sexy ride while it lasted.