Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Thomassen Shocked by Guilty Verdicts

Regularly Schedule Delegate Body Meeting-- In the first address to the full delegate body since the April 27, bribery conviction of EST Michael Forde and local 608 business agent Martin Devereaux, President Peter Thomassen informed the delegates as to the effect the conviction will have on council operations and outlined the procedures that will be followed in the wake of the verdict.

President Thomassen expressed his surprise at the guilty verdict and stated that "even to those people who attended the trial and listened to the testimony, the guilty verdicts were astounding and many felt were unsupported by the evidence". Thomassen told the delegates he attended the trial daily and was "shocked at the verdict", citing the fact that there was "no witness at the trial who admitted to actually passing a cash bribe to Mike Forde or Martin Devereaux".

Thomassen then told the delegates that in light of the jury’s guilty verdict, members have asked if and when EST Forde and business agent Devereaux must relinquish their elected positions as union officials and be relived of their official duties.

Thomassen said that the council would follow the by-laws and comply with all federal labor laws. He informed the delegates that under Section 504 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, union officials "convicted by a jury trial can continue to hold their offices until such date as they are sentenced". In this case Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Atlas has set a date for June 30, at which time he will decide whether to throw out the jury’s verdicts or impose sentence. He also told the delegates that he has been in contact with General President Doug McCarron and the District Council has his full support regarding this matter.

President Thomassen went on to say, "if Justice Jeffrey Atlas does impose sentence, then under Section 9(C) of the district council by-laws he will immediately become Executive Secretary- Treasurer Protem and the Vice-President shall become President Protem, until such time as an election may be held".