Gregory Taylor apparently used his union as a private bank. But the withdrawals ended a year and a half ago. And the bills are coming due. On September 15, Taylor, formerly secretary-treasurer of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1233 in Newark, N.J., was arrested at his home and charged with embezzling more than $100,000 in union funds during 2006-10. He already had been removed from office in May 2010 following an internal investigation. Special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor carried out the arrest. Appearing in Newark federal court, Taylor did not enter a plea and was released on $100,000 bond.
Taylor, 56, a resident of Edison, N.J., began serving as Local 1233 secretary-treasurer around January 2005. It apparently didn’t take long for him to steal. According to the criminal complaint filed on September 13, two days before his arrest:
From in or around October 2006, through in or about May 2010, Gregory Taylor, aka “Ronnie,” did knowingly and willfully embezzle, steal and unlawfully convert to his own use, and the use of others, money and funds of Local 1233, a labor organization of which he was the Secretary Treasurer, by causing the union to improperly disburse funds to him through his use of unauthorized payroll checks, debit cards, credit cards and other expenditures, totaling in excess of $100,000, contrary to Title 29, United States Code, Section 501(c).
Federal prosecutors allege that Taylor siphoned off local monies in various ways. First, and most importantly, during 2007-09 he had the union payroll company, ADP, issue him at least 21 unauthorized paychecks totaling $62,700. In addition, he wrote himself 44 checks from the local petty cash account totaling $13,650 during 2007-10. During this period, he also used union-sponsored Bank of America debit and credit cards to cover about $25,000 in personal travel and other expenses. And in 2008 and 2009 Taylor and a person identified only as “V.T.” (most likely his wife, Valetta Taylor) redeemed 135 “turkey coupon” gift cards purchased by the union from Wakefern Food Corp., parent company of ShopRite supermarkets, to buy groceries.
The pilferage ended when certain local leaders recognized funding shortfalls and believed Taylor had taken the money. They fired him and called upon the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct an investigation. Denise Gerardi, a special agent with DOL’s Office of Inspector General, concluded that Taylor had been responsible for the disappearance of the funds and referred the matter to the Justice Department. In the meantime, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is continuing his investigation, believing more funds may be missing.