Union Sues Corrupt Officers & Cronies

      MANHATTAN (CN) – Executives and contractors of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners who were convicted of embezzling millions of dollars in a racketeering scheme face a civil complaint from the pension funds they looted.
     The Carpenters Union and its locals and District Council have been bound by a federal consent decree since 1994, due to its “history of union corruption and organized crime influence within the District Council,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the August 2009 indictment.
     From 1994 to 2004, former Carpenter’s Union chief Michael Forde took cash bribes from contractors and let them to violate terms of their collective bargaining agreements with the District Council, according to the indictment.
     Contractor-defendants in the civil lawsuit include Turbo Enterprises, K.A.F.C.I. and Pyramid Associates Construction, which is owned by defendant James Duffy.
     Former union boss Forde admitted in July 2010 that he let contractors use undocumented workers and duck required payments to benefit funds. He also acknowledged that he lied about it in a deposition.
     Forde was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Nov. 19, 2010.
     Nine others pleaded guilty or were found convicted; all are named as defendants in the civil suit.
     They are Joseph Olivieri, a former trustee of the District Council Benefit Funds; John Greaney, former president and business manager of Local 608; Brian Hayes, a former business agent of Local 608; contractor Finbar O’Neill; and union shop stewards Michael Brennan, Brian Carson, Joseph Ruocco, John Stamberger and Michael Vivenzio.
     Greaney and Hayes allegedly conspired with defendant Pitcohn Construction Enterprises.
     The union pension funds seek punitive damages for racketeering, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
     The plaintiffs are the New York City District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund; the New York City District Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund; the New York City District Council of Carpenters Annuity Fund; the New York City District Council of Carpenters Apprenticeship, Journeyman Retraining, Educational and Industry Fund; and their trustees Frank Spencer, Douglas J. McCarron, John Ballantyne, Paul Tyznar, Paul O’Brien, Kevin M. O’Callaghan, Catherine Condon, David Meberg, Bryan Winter and John DeLollis.
     They are represented by Harlan J. Silverstein with Kauff McGuire & Margolis.

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