Jury Convicts Maritime Union Bosses in Criminal Racketeering Suit

It was the end of the line for Michael and Robert McKay. They’d been the targets of an extensive racketeering probe into their union, the American Maritime Officers. Late Friday afternoon January 5, a federal jury in Broward County, Fla., after just one day of deliberation, rendered its verdict: guilty. The McKay brothers, respectively, AMO president and secretary-treasurer, had been accused by the Justice Department of rigging elections, stealing benefit plan funds and obstructing justice. The jury convicted the pair on a variety of charges, including racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and record forgery.

Federal prosecutors called forth almost 30 witnesses to the stand during the four-week trial, reviewing thousands of documents. The McKay brothers, whose father, Raymond, had served as president of the 4,000-member Dania Beach, Fla.-based union for 36 years, insisted they’d been framed. That’s what Michael McKay’s lawyer, Neal Sonnett, believed as well. “I’m very, very disappointed,” he Read More ➡

RICO Trial for Bosses of AMO Union Gets Underway

Michael and Robert McKay have been living on borrowed time. Respectively, president and treasurer-secretary of the American Maritime Officers, the McKay brothers, aged 59 and 56, rigged elections, stole funds, obstructed justice, and orchestrated illegal campaign contributions. At least that’s what the Justice Department has been alleging in a criminal racketeering suit against the pair. Belatedly, the trial began on Tuesday, November 21.


The McKays have an unusually difficult hurdle to clear in order to convince the jury of their innocence: testimony by a longtime friend, now ex-friend, David Merriken, who’d run the union’s employee benefit plans during the latter part of the Nineties. Merriken for nearly a year had worn a hidden wire to work at AMO headquarters in the Broward County, Fla. community of Dania Beach. Federal investigators believed the McKays had been stealing from the 4,000-member national union, buying off local politicians in the process. Merriken Read More ➡