Associate of Philadelphia IBEW Boss Pleads Guilty to Fraud

James Moylan is about the last person that International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 wants to see taking the witness stand. But those fears might be realized. On October 16, Moylan, a longtime friend of John Dougherty, business manager of the powerful Philadelphia union, pleaded guilty in federal court to 17 counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false income tax returns in connection with his theft of around $49,000 from two nonprofit groups, each in some way supported by the union. He had been charged in January following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General’s Office.

IBEW Local 98, now with about 4,700 members, for years has held a prominent place in the overlapping worlds of Philadelphia labor, real estate … Read More ➡

Hawaii IBEW Boss, Family Members Indicted for $1.4M in Thefts

At International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260, stealing was a family business. And business hasn’t been good lately. On August 22, a Honolulu federal court unsealed a 70-count indictment against Brian Ahakuelo, former business manager for the Honolulu local, along with his wife and a sister-in-law, for conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud and embezzlement related to the disappearance of an estimated $1.4 million in union funds. Ahakuelo and the two others subsequently pleaded not guilty. They will have to contend with indictments handed down the next day of four union members who allegedly rigged a union vote in 2015 to approve a dues hike to cover the losses. The indictments follow a five-year probe by the IRS, the Labor Department and the State of Hawaii.

IBEW Local 1260 represents more than 3,200 utility, broadcast, maintenance and contract workers in Hawaii, Guam and Wake Island. For at least five years, … Read More ➡

Philadelphia-Area Contractor Sentenced for Theft, Bribery in IBEW Corruption Probe

For George Peltz, running a business and ripping off a union often meant the same thing. That’s why he’s no longer involved in either. On May 20, Peltz, a Philadelphia-area contractor, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to 18 months in prison and two years of probation for bribery, theft from a benefit fund, and tax fraud related to his dealings with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98. He also paid nearly $1 million in restitution. Peltz had pleaded guilty in January. The actions are part of a larger federal and state joint probe of corruption in Philadelphia that thus far has implicated a city council member, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, a couple of contractors and several Local 98 officials.

Union Corruption Update earlier had analyzed a sweeping federal indictment unsealed on January 30 against eight persons in the overlapping worlds of … Read More ➡

IBEW Business Manager in Philadelphia, Seven Others Indicted

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 in Philadelphia used to be an open cash register for certain members and outside persons. Now the register has been closed. Last Wednesday, January 30, local Business Manager John Dougherty and seven other persons, including a Philadelphia city councilman, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a 116-count indictment alleging a wide range of offenses including embezzlement, wire fraud and bribery. The defendants, all of whom have pleaded not guilty, during April 2010-August 2016 allegedly used union funds for unauthorized uses. It was in August 2016 that FBI agents raided over a dozen union construction sites, homes and offices following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, several agencies within the Department of Labor, and Pennsylvania State Police.

Electrical Workers Local 98 is no stranger to Union Corruption Update. More than a decade ago, a unionized … Read More ➡

Court Reinstates Conviction of New Jersey Electrical Workers Business Agent

IBEW logoFor a while, Richard “Buzzy” Dressel wasn’t certain whether he would be headed for prison. He’s more certain now. On August 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reinstated the jury guilty verdict of Dressel, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 164, on charges of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Paramus, N.J.-based union and its job training fund. In reversing U.S. District Judge William Martini’s decision of April 2014 that had tossed out two embezzlement convictions, the appellate court stated: “The jury’s verdict was not irrational, as there was sufficient evidence to convict Dressel of embezzling union funds.” Dressel allegedly had used the money to provide his girlfriend (and now wife) with a no-show union job and to bankroll her catering business with a no-bid contract.

Union Corruption Update reported on this case twice before. Back in November 2012, Richard … Read More ➡

Philadelphia Electrical Workers Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribery, Theft

ibewlogoBeing a union contractor can be risky, even if the labor boss with whom he does shady business has the same last name and is a lifelong friend. Such was the case for Donald “Gus” Dougherty, president of Dougherty Electric, Inc., in Philadelphia. On Monday, May 19, Dougherty pleaded guilty in federal court to bribing a business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 to facilitate an off-the-books payroll scheme. He’d been charged last June in a 100-count indictment handed down following a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the Department of Labor. The guilty plea comes on the heels of another guilty plea by him on April 15 to 98 counts that included operating an illegal cash payroll, stealing from a union benefit plan, and bribing a bank official.


For four years, said federal prosecutors, Donald Dougherty paid off the business manager of the Read More ➡

Ex-Official of New Mexico Local on Trial for Murder of Member

ibewlogoTake two men with a temper, and mix them with alcohol, a gun, and union business. The results can be lethal. That was the case five years ago at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 611 in Albuquerque. Andrew Palmer, former union president and business manager, shot union member and independent contractor Chris Romero to death after an argument at a local bar over union financial affairs. Charged with one count of murder, Palmer, now 58, belatedly went on trial last month. That Palmer was the triggerman is not in doubt – in fact, he’d turned himself into police on the day of the shooting. But the circumstances surrounding the death were ambiguous enough to produce a hung jury on April 27 following several days of deliberation.  


Chris Romero wasn’t an easy guy to get along with. John W. Johnson, whom Palmer appointed as the union’s dispatcher in 1999, testified Read More ➡