Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bruno Quits Job at Financial Firm Where Unions Were Investors

ALBANY — Joseph L. Bruno, the State Senate majority leader, has resigned from his job at a financial firm three weeks after it was revealed that the firm manages tens of millions of dollars for labor unions in and around his district.

Mr. Bruno, whose outside business interests are under federal investigation, worked for Wright Investors’ Service for more than a decade. But neither Mr. Bruno nor Wright officials have been willing to disclose precisely what Mr. Bruno did for the firm or provide a list of its clients.

The New York Times reported on Dec. 1 that six labor union locals, mostly from the Albany area and including several with interests before the State Legislature, invested pension or health fund money with Wright. No evidence has surfaced suggesting that Mr. Bruno pressured or encouraged the unions to invest with the firm.

In a statement released on Friday, Mr. Bruno, the state’s top Republican, said the decision to sever relations with Wright came “after several weeks of discussion.”

“I have done so because the focus on my outside interests has taken attention away from more pressing issues, such as our efforts to address the critical needs of our state going forward,” the statement said.

A statement released by a Wright spokesman noted that most New York State legislators had part-time outside employment. Still, it said, “Given the current environment, in which such employment is often viewed in a negative light, it is likely that questions will continue to be raised about Mr. Bruno’s employment.”

This week, Wright, which is based in Milford, Conn., hired a corporate and crisis communications specialist to handle inquiries from the press. Officials have declined to say whether they have been approached by federal investigators or received subpoenas.

Mr. Bruno began working for Wright as a consultant in March 1994. Nine months later he became majority leader, and in 1998 he was made a salaried Wright employee.

Under state ethics law, legislators must list any outside employers on ethics filings, but are not required to disclose to the public what work they perform or how much they are paid. Government watchdog groups have long advocated further restrictions or an outright ban on outside jobs for legislators.

In a radio interview this month, Mr. Bruno defended his work at Wright, and suggested it was drawing scrutiny only because of his continuing feud with Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat.

“Why is The New York Times singling me out with my other income, which I have a legal right to earn?” he asked. Mr. Bruno added: “That’s personal. They like to take a whack at me; they’re the extreme liberals out there, and they love Spitzer, and because I’m having problems with him, they love to take a whack at me any chance they get.”

Russ Haven, the legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, a nonpartisan watchdog organization, said in an interview that Mr. Bruno’s decision to leave Wright “removes the appearance of conflict. But it doesn’t address the larger problem of legislative disclosure, and the fact that many lawmakers have significant business and professional interests that may raise conflicts.”

Mr. Bruno has been an unusually stalwart ally of unions, especially for a Republican, and has forged a range of ties with local union leaders.

Records reviewed by The Times since the Dec. 1 article show that eight Albany area unions have had money invested with Wright at various times in the past decade.

An examination of state records and tax documents also reveals that several officials at the unions that invested with Wright also intersected with Mr. Bruno, whether by making political donations, by lobbying or by receiving state money disbursed at his discretion.

Three of the unions’ political action committees contributed to Mr. Bruno’s campaign fund. Four trustees at the unions, who help decide how to invest the unions’ money, were longtime political supporters of Mr. Bruno and some had endorsements listed on his campaign Web site.

Wolfgang Hammer, a longtime ally of Mr. Bruno’s whose name appeared on the site, ran a local branch of the union Unite Here until recently and was a trustee of two pension funds that invested money with Wright. Asked this week if he was aware of Mr. Bruno’s role there, Mr. Hammer said: “No comment, don’t even push it. No comment.”

He and two family members were ousted from leadership positions this month.

Some leaders of union locals also lobbied the State Senate. Kevin Hicks, a prominent carpenters’ union official until recently, was a trustee of three pension funds that invested with Wright and also personally lobbied the Senate on a wide range of issues, according to state records. Mr. Hicks recently retired from the carpenters’ union and took a job in labor relations with the Spitzer administration. He declined to comment.

Wright also handled money for the New York District Council of Carpenters pension fund. A spokeswoman for that local, based in New York City, said its officials were not aware of Mr. Bruno’s role at Wright. Senate Republicans secured $50,000 for a technical college affiliated with the council in the 2005 budget. John E. McArdle, a spokesman for Mr. Bruno, said any such grants “were for legitimate governmental purposes.”

Several union officials said in interviews this week that they did not know Mr. Bruno worked for Wright, while others declined to discuss the matter. One union official whose pension fund has done business with Wright, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was aware that Mr. Bruno worked there but said he had never been solicited by him for investments.

“It was common knowledge for me, and I knew a few other people knew it, but I’ve never had any pressure put on me,” the official said.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Local 157 Has A Day of Reckoning At Hearing

On an extraordinary day of words and images, a three member UBC Hearing Committee and Local 157 members heard testimony on Tuesday from UBC leaders, Independent Investigator, and many rank and file members about the conduct of three local 157 business representatives and why the action to place the local under supervision was necessary.

After an introduction of the UBC committee members, we heard testimony from Eastern District VP Frank Spencer who told committee members, the action to place local 157 under supervision was fully justified.

Mr. Spencer said that Local 157’s business representatives were not performing their jobs, their was a lack of leadership and characterized the appearance of local 157’s headquarters as atrocious.

Up next was Independent Investigator, Bill Callahan, who the help of a slide show presentation described the allegations against the business representatives and stated that the “local is a mismanaged mess due to a lack of leadership from a absentee business manager and that only 2 of the B/A's filed the required (Business Agent Activity) reports, which are required to be filled out by all B/A's weekly.”

The evidence against President and business manager Bill Hanley, Vice President/ business representative George Dilacio, Financial Secretary/business representative Fred Kennedy and Trustee/business representative Danny Demorato was in the form of cell-phone and attendance records that showed the business representatives had numerous unaccounted for days off and left work early, instead of working the streets of Manhattan's East Side, where they were suppose to be.

Many Local 157 members who testified reacted to the allegations against the business representatives with shock and dismay saying “the B/A's do a wonderful job and were always there helping members at any given time” brother after brother said.

Local 157 brothers and sisters spent all afternoon and evening telling the committee how the business representatives “always checked jobs”, “the guys were always there”, ”they were doing a great job”, “all stand up men”, “very professional”, " I can call the B/A's morning ,noon and night", “honor to work with such men”, "the B/A's were at the locals offices before 6 a.m. every morning, handling inquiries and making calls to contractors”.

Members also testified at times very loudly and raised questions why only Local 157's officers were scrutinized about their attendance and cell phone records.

"Did they check any other locals to see where their officers are all day?” one brother asked.

“This is a witch hunt against local 157”, “it’s a rail road job”, “ we see a pattern of the west side taking over Manhattan and this is all political”, "they even took local 157 out of the Carpenter magazine" said several members.

The hearing committee will review all the testimony and evidence and make a report and recommendation to the UBC General Executive Board for final determination.

Below is the transcript of the hearings:





Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Glance at Union Endorsements

Major labor endorsements made early in 2008 Democratic presidential primaries:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York

United Transportation Union. Endorsed in August 2007.

Intl Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Endorsed in August 2007.

Transportation Communication Union. Endorsed in September 2007.

National Association of Letter Carriers. Endorsed in September 2007.

Intl Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. Endorsed in September 2007.

National Federation of Teachers. Endorsed in October 2007.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Endorsed in October 2007.

Intl Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Endorsed in November 2007.

Amalgamated Transit Union. Endorsed in November 2007.

Intl Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Endorsed in December 2007.

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut

International Association of Fire Fighters. Endorsed in August 2007.

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Endorsed in August 2007.

United Steelworkers of America. Endorsed in September 2007.

United Mine Workers of America. Endorsed in September 2007.

Transport Workers Union. Endorsed in September 2007.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nails in Their Stockings

It's a heave-ho, not ho-ho, for carpenter-union bigs
by Tom Robbins - The Village Voice
December 11th, 2007

Bad tidings always carry an added sting when delivered during the holiday season, which is one reason there's not much of a festive spirit right now over at the offices of Carpenters Local 157 on East 25th Street.

A few days after Thanksgiving, the local's 4,500 members learned through the grapevine that most of their top elected officers had suddenly been ousted—for reasons that were not immediately clear. Rumor was that the local was also being taken over by the national union, but this too was hard to nail down. What was known was that the monthly membership meeting was abruptly canceled, as was the annual Christmas party—a move that really added insult to injury.

"Nobody knows what the hell is going on," griped a veteran carpenter who called this newspaper in a vain attempt to find something out.

A couple of phone calls quickly established that yes, the city's carpenters union was again embroiled in a corruption scandal, and yes, the parent union had stepped in, and yes, heads had already rolled.

You'd think that in the age of computers and mobile phones (which I can confirm are possessed by the vast majority of the city's rank-and-file carpenters), the details of this coup would have already been shared with the membership. But here it is, three weeks later, and the key information has yet to be imparted by the New York City District Council of Carpenters to these hardworking New Yorkers.

For details, members had to turn to a new, and very unofficial, website ( There, carpenter John Musumeci posted a press release from the district council that shed only the faintest light on the situation: "Some representatives assigned to work in Local 157 were not performing their jobs in the manner expected of them by the District Council," it stated with all the clarity of mud. Here then, based on discussions with several sources, are the facts of the matter as assembled by the Voice:

The first official out the door was William Hanley, 55, the $140,000-a-year president and business manager of Local 157, who resigned his position shortly before Thanksgiving. Hanley's sudden retirement came after he was confronted with evidence gathered by William Callahan, the union's court-appointed independent investigator. The evidence was in the form of cell-phone records that suggested the union leader had spent many weekday afternoons roaming Long Island, where his family happens to have a splendid waterfront home, instead of working the streets of Manhattan's East Side, where his members are employed.

Similar evidence was presented against Hanley's second-in-command, financial secretary Fred Kennedy, who made the same quick career choice. Local business representative Daniel DeMorato was suspended from his post and reassigned. But another target, local vice president George DiLacio, told his interrogators to get lost. DiLacio refused to give up his elected post at the local but was summarily fired from his $127,000-a-year job as a union representative.

Callahan's report on his findings has yet to be made public, but excerpts from it were quoted in a letter to the local from national carpenters union president Douglas McCarron. In it, McCarron quotes Callahan describing Local 157 as "a mismanaged mess where [business agents] come and go as they please, following few, if any, rules."

The ousted officials couldn't be reached, but a friend of Hanley's said the carpenter had simply decided to throw in the towel. "He was at a point where he didn't care any more," said the friend. "He just wanted to go."

As well he might. Even though its ranks are filled with bright and active blue-collar workers, the carpenters union has been unable to climb out of a 30-year-long quagmire of corruption. Several recent heads of the union's 25,000-member district council have faced corruption charges: Teddy Maritas disappeared and was presumed murdered in 1982 after he was indicted in a mob-bribery scheme; Paschal McGuinness was acquitted of corruption charges, but was forced to retire when federal prosecutors hit the union with a 1990 civil-racketeering case; Fred Devine was convicted of stealing more than $175,000 in union funds.

The current council leader, Michael Forde, was convicted in 2004 of taking a $50,000 bribe from a mobster's son-in-law while seated in a Hooter's restaurant on West 56th Street. The money was alleged to have sealed a promise that Forde would look the other way while nonunion workers renovated the old Park Central hotel. The conviction, however, was set aside after the judge determined that members of the jury had spoken disparagingly of union officials during the trial, and had read an account of the affair in the Voice. Forde's retrial has been put off repeatedly. It is currently scheduled for January.

Before his sudden retirement, Hanley was viewed as a strong contender to lead the union should Forde finally be forced from office. Considered popular with the members, Hanley was a third-generation carpenter. Both his father and grandfather ran the local before him. Gene Hanley, William's dad, ran into his own problems back in 1987, when investigators managed to plant a bug in his office in the local's headquarters. The device picked up conversations between the elder Hanley and contractors seeking relief from having to pay full union wages and benefits to workers.

"You could hear the desk drawer open and close as he put the envelopes inside," said an investigator who worked on the case. Gene Hanley was ultimately sentenced to a four-year term for taking bribes.

No specific allegations were ever lodged against the son, but William Hanley was made well aware that prosecutors were taking a hard look at him as well. Over the past year, federal prosecutors won indictments of two shop stewards with close ties to Hanley and who had been assigned to oversee a massive renovation of the old Met Life buildings on Madison Avenue. The stewards, both of whom were local officers, were charged with defrauding the union by submitting phony reports that omitted the names of dozens of union members.

One of the stewards, Frank Proscia, pled guilty in late October. The other, Michael "Mickey" Annucci, is due to go to trial next month. When Annucci was arrested last year, investigators suggested that he help himself by telling what he knew about corruption. Like what? asked Annucci. Like about Bill Hanley, the investigators answered, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Carpenters are pretty well inured to these goings-on by now, but the members of Local 157 have been burning up their cell-phone minutes over the last month complaining about how they're kept in the dark. Although no official notice has gone out yet, a day-long hearing is expected to be held on December 18. It will be attended by top leaders of the national union in Washington, who can expect an earful from rank-and-file discontents.

One of the questions that members are likely to raise is why only Local 157's officers were scrutinized about their attendance records. While no one I spoke to could vouch for the whereabouts of the ousted officers all day long, several said they could always rely on finding Hanley and Kennedy at the local's offices before 6 a.m. every morning, handling inquiries and making calls to contractors. Asks one disgruntled nail-driver: "Did they check any other locals to see where their officers are all day?"

The probe also follows criticism by the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office that, prior to the Hanley probe, investigator Callahan had been largely ineffective in his role. Members have also protested that the investigator has focused more on Local 157 than Forde's home base, which covers Manhattan's West Side. Callahan's supporters, however, say he has just been following the evidence. The Hanley probe, they say, was spurred by an anonymous tip to his "corruption hotline." If so, carpenters' cell phones are likely to start humming.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Five Minutes With: Frank Spencer

On November 26, 2007 acting on a petition by the NYC District Council, General President Douglas McCarron ordered an emergency, temporary supervision over Local 157, and appointed the UBC’s Eastern District Vice President Frank Spencer to lead this supervision and oversee the orderly restoration and responsible management of Local 157. We met with Frank on December 11, and talked about the current state of Local 157 and what this supervision means for the future.

Local 157 blogspot: What exactly does an emergency supervision mean?

Frank: Under section 10H of the UBC Constitution General President McCarron granted me full supervisory authority over Local 157, and the power to assume and exercise full and complete authority over the conduct of Local 157, which would include the authority to enforce collective bargaining agreements, the authority to administer all of the locals assets, the authority to appoint conduct and cancel meetings, the authority to remove and hire any and all offices, delegates, stewards and employees.

Right now all membership meetings have been suspended and bank accounts and assets of the local are frozen. We are currently analyzing the books to stabilize the locals state of affairs to protect the welfare of its members and insuring the proper functioning of Local 157.

Local157 blogspot: How long do you anticipate the supervision to last?

Frank: It depends upon how quick we can get things turned around. We will know more after the December 18, hearings.

Local157 blogspot: What happens to the elected officers of a local placed under supervision?

Frank: All officers of the executive board and the locals delegates to the District Council have been suspended.

Local157 blogspot: How will replacements be selected to fill the vacated elected local positions?

Frank: General President Douglas McCarron will make all appointments with recommendations from EST Mike Forde and myself.

Local157 blogspot: There is going to be hearings schedule, what can you tell me about that.

Frank: General President McCarron will appoint a hearing committee made up of board members from the UBC.

Hearings will take place at the NYC District Council on Tuesday, December 18. There will be three sessions starting at 8:30 am to 11:30 am, 1:00pm to 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

All members of Local 157 will have an opportunity to appear at the hearing and present testimony and their views regarding the conduct of the affairs of local 157.

Local157 blogspot: How will the College Scholarship Program and Sick Fund Program be affected?

Frank: We will apprise and evaluate the situation at a later time after the hearings.

Local157 blogspot: What do you think about our website?

Frank: It's very good, as long as it's accurate.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Toys for Tots A Hugh Success

Volunteer members of Local 157 had a successful day as they rode their motorcycles over to the Ronald McDonald House. Brothers and sisters brought a little Christmas cheer to children as they distributed toys. Were getting a pretty good response says Bruce Miranda, who coordinates the event.

“It’s a great feeling given out toys, and then showing the kids around the motorcycles. It's a nice little event for the families.” For more pictures click here.

Help Us Spread The Word

The simplest and possibly the most effective of all options to help us to get the word out about our website is by telling and emailing your friends. Send an email to all your friends with a link of and invite them to pass it on.

Another way you can help us is by posting a flyer at your job site. Click this link and print out a job site flyer to either hand out or post in your shanty.

I will be meeting with Eastern District Vice President, Frank Spencer on Tuesday, December 11, and will post an update about this supervision.

Thank you for your help in spreading the word!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Local 157 Annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run

They roar over the streets of Manhattan starting at Local 157 headquarters and ending at 73rd street, home of the Ronald McDonald House.

Each year Local 157 members headed by Bruce Miranda (pictured left), collect new unwrapped toys during October, November and December and ride their motorcycles to distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to children undergoing cancer treatment at the Ronald McDonald House.

Even though our local has been shut down and placed under emergency supervision on November 26, as they say in show business, “The Show Must Go On”.

If you would like to be a part of the Toys for Tots motorcycle run bring your unwrapped toys and meet us at local 157 headquarters at 157 east 25th street at 9:00 am Sunday, December 9, 2007 and help give a Christmas to children and their families at this most emotional time.

Local 157 Supervision Letter

Local 157 Supervision Letter

When Union Leaders Don’t Follow Through For Their Members, It Disappoints Us All

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No Rats For Birthday Girl Randi

By Elizabeth Benjamin

The Carpenters union called off their planned demonstration outside UFT President Randi Weingarten’s birthday celebration tonight (featuring a scheduled “roast” by Mayor Bloomberg), saying they’re satisfied with the teachers’ pledge to pay for union construction workers on a Bronx project to build housing for educators.

Carpenters union sources said they began receiving “frantic” calls from UFT surrogates over the weekend when word of a possible demonstration started leaking out and are now feeling rather triumphant, albeit a wee bit remorseful at having turned on a fellow member of the labor movement to protect their own interests.

"We hate to do this on somebody's 50th birthday, but — what better time, you know?" an organizer for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Thomas Costello, said.

“It’s unfortunate we have to twist arms like this, especially with another labor organization,” said Stephen McInnis of the carpenters union. “But we’re happy they came around. When you’re 100 percent right, sometimes you have to make a decision.”

Last night, Weingarten issued a statement announcing the UFT had withdrawn its support for the project, for which the Teachers Retirement System had agreed to purchase $28.2 million worth of bonds, and intended to picket the construction site this morning because the developer had not guaranteed to pay the prevailing wage.

“…we stand today with our brother and sister unions and ask TRS to sell the bonds and, in essence, walk away from this deal,” Weingarten said. “Affordable workforce housing for teachers – and indeed, for all workers in New York City – is vitally important, but we cannot support an initiative that does not respect or support union workers.”

McInnis said UFT and Comptroller Bill Thompson’s office have agreed to sit down with the developer and figure out how to make up the difference to have union labor on the project. It’s unclear exactly how that will be worked out - if the bonds will be resold to someone else, for example - or what the final cost will be.


Teachers-union President Randi Weingarten has found herself caught between a rock and some hard hats over a $28 million project to develop affordable housing for her members - because it's using non-union construction workers.

The much-ballyhooed plan to provide educators low-cost housing in The Bronx is facing the wrecking ball after the union chief urged trustees of the teachers' pension system - whose bonds are funding the project - to pull out.

"Teacher and work-force affordable housing is very important to us, but so is ensuring that construction is union built," Weingarten said in a letter to the trustees.
Weingarten said she learned about the union issue just last week. The union boss said she would voice her displeasure over the non-union workers today during a demonstration at the Melrose job site.

But union carpenters are planning to picket the UFT's Manhattan headquarters, where Weingarten will celebrate her 50th birthday at a 7 p.m. ceremony, according to a source.

The hard hats say that if she weren't trying to cut corners by using non-union help, she would have at least known about the arrangement sooner. "Either it was ignorance or apathy," said Stephen McInnis of the New York District Council Carpenters Union.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Brooklyn Construction Booming: Hip Hotel On The Rise

Here's the latest vision for a hip new boutique hotel coming soon to Downtown Brooklyn.

Long Island City-based V3 Hotel is planning to break ground Dec. 11 on the $60 million, 23-story Hotel Indigo on Duffield Street featuring 180 amenity-rich rooms, a rooftop bar, a swanky restaurant and 17,000 square feet of new retail.
"This is definitely a higher-end hotel than what we're used to seeing in Brooklyn," said V3 CEO Ben Nash.

The project is just part of 1,973 new hotel rooms slated to come to the borough's downtown area by 2012 - and that doesn't include another 225 hotel rooms expected to be built within the long-delayed Brooklyn Bridge Park project, records show.
Currently, the only major hotel serving the downtown area is the 637-room New York Marriott on Adams Street.

Joe Chan, president of the public-private Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said building a new hotel in the Big Apple was once considered trendy only if it was below 96th Street in Manhattan but that has changed citywide - "especially in Brooklyn, which has become a tourist destination in itself."

He noted planned draws like an arena for the NBA's Nets and the expansion of the Brooklyn Academy of Music Cultural District.

But not everyone is enamored with the hotel projects.

"We don't need hotels for rich people from out of town; we need services for our community," said Diana Smith, a Fort Greene resident and board member for Families United for Racial and Economic Equality.

Designed by renowned architect Karl Fischer, the Hotel Indigo is expected to be complete in late 2009.

Known Hotels in Development

• The Smith, 75 Smith St., 93 rooms. Boymelgreen Developers and Meltzer/Mandl Architects.
• 32-38 Nevins St., 180-200 rooms. McSam Hotel Group with Michael Kang Architect.
• Cambria Suites 75 Schermerhorn St., 300 rooms. Choice Hotels and Perkins Eastman Architects.
• Hotel Indigo, 237 Duffield, 180 rooms. V3 Hotel Management and Karl Fischer Architect.
• Holiday Inn, 300 Schermerhorn, 250 rooms. Tyler Hospitality and Gene Kaufman Architect.
• NY Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge Expansion, 333 Adams St., 280 rooms (already open). Muss Development and William B. Tabler Architects.
• Sheraton/Aloft, 216 Duffield, 500 rooms combined. The Lam Group and Gene Kaufman Architects.
• Atlantic Yards’ Miss Brooklyn, 150 rooms. Forest City Ratner and Frank Gehry Architect.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Construction Jobs Increased by 5.4 percent in the City

Job growth in the New York area over the past year outpaced every other region in the nation, with more than 77,500 new jobs reported in the latest national survey released yesterday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Construction jobs increased by 5.4 percent in the city to 121,700 jobs, the largest increase in this industry since February 2001, even as the number of construction jobs nationally fell by 1.4 percent.

"This is really good job growth for the city," said Martin Kohli, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The city outpaced the national average of a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

Immediate Release To All Union Members

For Immediate Release November 26, 2007-- Over the last several weeks, the officers of the District Council have been presented with credible information, showing that some business representatives assigned to work in Local 157 were not performing their jobs in the manner expected of them by the District Council and that they had, in other respects, acted inconsistently with the standards expected of District Council employees. In response to this information, we interviewed those representatives to get their side of the story. After considering the matter, the Local 157 Business Manager and one Business Representative have resigned their employment by the District Council and from all Local 157 and District Council elected positions. Another Business Representative has been suspended and reassigned to work in another area. Another Business Representative was discharged.

To stabilize the governance of the Local and restore the service the Local 157 membership and all District Council carpenters working in that Local’s jurisdiction deserve, the District Council invoked the procedures of the UBC Constitution and asked General President Douglas McCarron to order an emergency, temporary supervision over the Local. Under our constitution, only General President McCarron has the authority to order such measures to protect the welfare of the Local and its members. On November 26, 2007, General President McCarron, acting on our petition, ordered an emergency supervision be imposed on Local 157. Mr. McCarron has appointed the UBC’s Eastern District Vice President Frank Spencer to lead this supervision and the District Council’s Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Mike Forde, as his first assistant supervisor, to oversee the orderly restoration of internal self-governance and the responsible management and conduct of the Local’s and the District Council’s business in Local 157.

The officers of the District Council thank General President McCarron for his prompt response to their request for assistance in this matter, and are committed to working with the UBC, the officers and members of Local 157, to ensure that the important tasks ahead of us are carried out with respect and honor for the rights and welfare of all our members.

Michael J. Forde- Executive Secretary Treasurer, Peter Thomassen- President, Denis Sheil- Vice President 395 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014. Contact: Audra Donohue (212) 366 – 7523

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pickets protest contractor at job site

Union carpenters have been picketing at 48th and Broadway to protest some work being done by a nonunion contractor.

Mike Martin, business representative for Carpenters and Joiners Local 189, said the picketing began Monday because the union feels that Maas Construction "is not paying area standards" in wages and benefits to its workers.

Jerry Maas, owner of the construction company, refutes that claim. Maas says his nonunion employees not only are paid a fair wage but probably make more in a year than most union workers do.

"I guess what they call 'area standards' and what everybody else calls 'area standards' are just two different things," Maas said.

Martin said no union carpenters are doing work on a Maas Construction job site in a portion of the former K's Merchandise building.

"He (Maas) is not a union contractor, so our guys wouldn't be able to go to work for him," Martin said. "So we're basically informing the public that we don't believe he's paying area standards — and that's wages and benefits."

Maas admits his firm is "not union and I don't hire a lot of union carpenters." However, he says he has a regular crew of solid, reliable employees who are given a fair wage and a wide range of benefits, including health insurance, pension and paid holidays.

Union carpenters "want to work for one wage and work six months out of the year, and we work for another wage and work all year round," Maas said.

"I've got guys that have been with me 10 to 20 years, and they work all year round, and they're making more money than those guys, regardless of what they tell you."

Maas believes the picketing is intended to try to prevent him from winning a bid to build the new County Market store that will go inside the old K's Merchandise building. Bidding is currently under way for that project, and Maas Construction is one of the bidders.

"They're trying to squeeze Niemann Foods into not hiring us if we're the low bidder," Maas said.

A pet supply shop has already been built on the west side of the old K's complex. Maas said his crew is currently working on a Pampered Pets business that will occupy about 1,000 square feet in one corner of the 88,000-square-foot building.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Supervision for Carpenters’ Local Union 157

By Steven Greenhouse --The New York Times
The carpenters’ union local for the East Side was placed under emergency supervision yesterday by Douglas McCarron, the president of the parent union in Washington. In a news release, the parent union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, said officials with Local 157 here had acted inconsistently with the standards expected of the union’s employees. Members of the carpenters’ union said its independent investigator was looking into allegations of no-show jobs at Local 157. Also yesterday, the union announced that the business manager of Local 157 had resigned. One business representative was fired, a second resigned and a third was suspended, the union said. Mr. McCarron has appointed the union’s Eastern District vice president, Frank Spencer, to temporarily oversee Local 157.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Local 157 Under Temporary Supervision

Latest Update: I went to the local Monday morning, here's what happened. President and business manager Bill Hanley, Vice President/ business representative George Dilacio and Financial Secretary/business representative Fred Kennedy have resigned. Trustee/business representative Danny Demorato has been reassigned to work in another area. The local was placed under an emergency supervision by General President Douglas McCarron. Eastern District Vice President, Frank Spencer has been appointed to temporarily oversee the supervision of Local 157.

NYC District Council EST Michael Forde, has appointed council organizers Rambo Ibric and Anthony Puglise as temporary business representatives and Lawrence D’Errico has been named business manager.

All schedule local 157 meeting have been suspended, the annual Christmas party has been canceled. The district council has mailed a letter to all members explaining the supervision. Will update as more information becomes available.

Related Articles

District Council Bulletin-posted Friday, November, 30

New York Times Article-posted Tuesday, November,27

Local 157 Officials Suddenly Resign-posted Wednesday, November,21

New York’s Construction Boom Puts More Women in Hard Hats


November 26, 2007--Olga Aguilar walked through a tunnel of scaffolding at 6:30 a.m. on a recent weekday and into the Brompton, a 20-story condominium building going up at 86th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Passing groups of men in the lobby, she made her way into the basement and through a maze of plywood shacks, and opened the door to one of them in a corner.

Inside, there were none of the Playboy centerfolds that typically line construction shacks. Instead, there were vitamins, moisturizing creams and energy drinks.

The shack — a cross between a locker room and a tool shed — is reserved for women. “This is unprecedented,” said Ms. Aguilar, 31, who is one of four women working as apprentice carpenters at the Brompton.

Ms. Aguilar is part of a small but noteworthy shift in the construction industry: since 2005, more women have gone into the building trades in New York City than at any other period in history, according to trade union officials.

The women are training to be electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, ironworkers, bricklayers and, most often, carpenters. In the New York City District Council of Carpenters, 280 of 2,000 apprentices, or 14 percent, are women. Most are finding commercial construction jobs.

Though the work sites are decidedly male-dominated, the appearance of more women in hard hats is a result of a campaign by the city and some unions. In 2005, as a construction boom swept the city, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg formed a commission to recruit members of minorities, military veterans, high-school dropouts and women into the building trades.

At the same time, local trade unions agreed to fill 10 percent of new positions in apprenticeship programs with women — the carpenter’s union set its goal at 15 percent — and the State Department of Labor allowed women to jump to the front of the line when trade unions recruited apprentices instead of making them go through the traditional lottery system.

Two years ago, women made up 2.2 percent of the city’s 175,400 construction workers, according to the United States Census Bureau. That figure has inched up to about 3 percent today, industry officials said.

“We have a construction boom and a commitment by the unions to employ women,” said Amy Peterson, the local president of Nontraditional Employment for Women, a group that offers a free six-week training program in the building trades. “We can turn it around and make it not unusual to get women into construction.”

This year, the group placed 158 women in building trades apprenticeships, compared with 139 in 2006 and fewer than 50 in 2000.

For many women, the building trades represent an escape from poverty. Apprentice wages start at about $16 an hour, plus benefits. After a five-year apprenticeship, a carpenter makes about $42 an hour.

For some, a construction apprenticeship also is an opportunity to start over. Yordanis Jusino, 23, took a plumbing class while she was serving a prison sentence for attempted murder and is now enrolled in night classes held by Nontraditional Employment for Women. “There’s a big stigma,” said Ms. Jusino, who lives in the Bronx and was 16 when she went to prison. “Everyone thinks that once you’ve been an inmate, you can’t change.”

Elaine Stanley, 28, is a third-year apprentice at the Brompton and part of a different group of women going into the building trades: those who have college degrees or are changing careers. Ms. Stanley was teaching sixth grade in the Bronx but had not decided on a permanent career when she learned about the Nontraditional Employment for Women training program in 2005. “I was interested and open,” said Ms. Stanley, who added that she had long found architecture-related careers to be appealing.

Ms. Aguilar used to be a night manager at a bar in the West Village. “I knew from growing up that working with my hands was something that I enjoyed doing,” said Ms. Aguilar, who helped her father, a factory worker originally from Guatemala, renovate a building when she was a girl growing up in Chicago.

From 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every weekday, the apprentices at the Brompton unload tractor-trailers, deliver materials, erect metal frames, lay down insulation and strap themselves into harnesses to hang and repair safety netting. “We started this building,” Ms. Aguilar said.

Elly Spicer has a rare perspective on how the construction industry has changed. She has been a construction worker and an organizer in the carpenters’ union for 22 years, and there was a time, she said, that “if a woman set down her hard hat, she could pick it up to find a male co-worker had used it as a toilet.”

When Tamara Rivera, 41, became a carpenter’s apprentice in 1994, she said, foremen routinely ignored her when handing out assignments. Co-workers would call her “butch” or, conversely, “precious.” She often did not have a separate bathroom to use. “Sixty guys, and I would be the only girl,” she said. Now, she added, “you might still be the only girl, but the attitude is changing.”

There is a new camaraderie between men and women in unions that veteran women carpenters said was once unheard of. “They’re just happy that you can pull your weight,” said Eva Paz, 36, a second-year apprentice in the carpenters’ union, who has a “No Cry Baby” sticker on her hard hat.

Dane Finley, 50, a shop steward at the Brompton who has been a construction worker for 28 years, said: “When there’s ladies on the job, you can’t be animals, knuckleheads. It changes the way everyone acts.”

Pat A. Di Filippo, executive vice president of Turner Construction Company, one of the city’s largest general contractors, said: “Women are finding this is a business, that it is not the boys’ club it once was. It’s a business that needs people to perform tasks, and you’re a woman who can do that task.”

The foothold that women have gained during the construction boom may expand in the coming years. Developers working on large projects at the World Trade Center site and the Atlantic Yards complex in Brooklyn are aiming to employ a work force that is at least 15 percent women.

“As long as the industry remains strong, there will be continued opportunities for women and minorities to join the building trades,” said Louis J. Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers Association, which represents 1,500 contractors in the city that employ union workers.

But what will happen when construction slows is an open question.

“I do fear that,” said Ms. Stanley, the former teacher. “That’s why I try to learn as much as I can, so when that happens, I will have a reputation and people looking out for me.”

Saturday, November 24, 2007

We Are In It To Win!

Some of you suguested I repost this excellent speech by General President Doug McCarron, addressing the delegates at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Convention in Las Vegas, August 2005 “Rebuilding the UBC”. Click here for video

Carpenters International President Doug McCarron Endorses John Edwards

Brothers and sisters in cased you missed it, John Edwards receives the endorsement of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in Nashua, N.H. on September 8, 2007. Hear International President Douglas J. McCarron introduce and endorse him.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Union smells a rat as art school work continues

The School of Visual Arts continues building its newest dormitory on the Lower East Side to house hundreds of students by next fall, regardless of a menacing-looking, 15-foot inflatable rat overseeing construction.

A group of workers from the New York City District Council of Carpenters has been protesting construction, with the red-eyed rodent as their mascot, alleging that the laborers being used at the site are underpaid and haven’t received proper safety training.

The planned 20-story, 80,000-square-foot residence hall, located at 101 Ludlow St. at Delancey St., will hold 350 beds in a mix of private and semi-private rooms, said Michael Grant, the art school’s spokesperson.

Grant deferred judgment of the allegations to the city’s Buildings and Labor Departments, while Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3 district manager, said the union has asked the board to take a position at next month’s meeting regarding worker wages and safety conditions.

“This has only come up once in the past,” Stezter said, noting that C.B. 3 “is not an investigatory board.”

The locally based Charles Blaichman Real Estate Development Corp. approached S.V.A. to develop the project, which has only been built to about three stories so far and also endured D.O.B. stop-work orders.

Charles Blaichman, who has developed extensively in the Village, did not return calls for comment.

Andres Puerta, an organizer for the carpenters’ union, said his workers — and their fanged friend — plan to protest each weekday, “hopefully until they open the front doors,” he said. “We’re not going to give up.”

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Brothers and Sisters


The first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated in mid-October 1621, nearly one year after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Much later, George Washington was the first of many American presidents formally to proclaim a day of thanks. The following prayer was offered in 1789, in appreciation of the hard-earned independence of the United States of America: (click here)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Local 157 Union Officials Suddenly Resigned

New York Breaking News...Three local 157 union officials suddenly resigned on Wednesday November 21, 2007. President and business manager Bill Hanley, Vice President/ business representative George Dilacio and Financial Secretary/business representative Fred Kennedy met with carpenter union head EST Michael Forde at NYCDC headquarters early Wednesday morning in a closed door meeting, and sources say resigned. Union officials at the District Council would not comment other than saying "it's a personal matter". Story still developing...

Tri-Built Construction Admits Fraud

NEW YORK -November 21, 2007 - An Ardsley contractor faces up to five years in prison after admitting yesterday that he defrauded a carpenters union of millions of dollars by bribing union officials, using non-union workers at union job sites, and paying union carpenters off the books.
Patrick Noel McCaul, 48, of Winding Farm Road, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to one count of conspiracy. His partner in Tri-Built Construction Co., James Dermot McGonnell also pleaded guilty.
The two admitted they engaged in a decade-long plot to defraud the District Council of New York City and Vicinity of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of millions of dollars. Tri-Built was a drywall contractor that held itself out as a union contractor and did business in New York City and Long Island. The company had contracts on numerous publicly funded projects, including a construction site at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.
When they were indicted in December, federal prosecutors said the two men illegally skimmed $6.5 million in benefits that should have gone to the union.
McCaul and McGonnell were able to underbid other companies for jobs because they knew they would pay workers cash at non-union rates without any benefits or tax withholding, federal prosecutors said. They admitted paying an employee of the union benefits fund to destroy internal records which might show the fraud if the books were ever audited.
As part of their plea, the two men agreed to forfeit $1.5 million which will be paid to the benefit fund, federal authorities said.

Contact and About Us

Let's be heard! Hi, I’m John Musumeci and I write this blog to help keep you up-to-date and informed about the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters (UBC) in New York City.

I started this blog in November 2007 when Local 157 was placed under emergency supervision by General President Douglas McCarron.

I think of this blog as your online meeting hall where union brothers and sisters’ can Communicate, Connect and Stay Informed.

This blog is dedicated to empowering and mobilizing the membership into an irresistible force through the free and open exchange of information, ideas and opinions in the belief that as Union members you have the right to information, to hear, and to be heard!

I have over twenty five years experience as a carpenter and ten years experience as a elected leader. I am committed to reform, members rights, free speech and empowering the members of this union. I hope this blog will empower you to become more active in union affairs.

To contact me, please email me at or you can call me at 646-812-3527

Friday, November 2, 2007

Former NYCDCC shop steward, David Veltri, gets 27 months in prison

On Friday, November 2, former NYCDCC shop steward, David Veltri, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for accepting at least $8,000 in cash bribes during the period of January through May 2004, from the owners of Tri-Built Construction Inc. in return for leaving Union Carpenters off his shop steward reports for the Kings County Hospital project in Brooklyn.

Veltri's actions helped Tri-Built defraud the NYC District Council Benefits Fund out of at least $70,000 in contributions. Veltri, who pled guilty to charges of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of an employee benefit plan on June 15, will also serve a term of 3 years supervised release, pay a fine of $8,000 and provide $70,000 in restitution to the NYCDCC Benefits Fund.

Tri-Built owners Patrick Noel McCaul and James Dermot McGonnell have been charged under a separate indictment for a long-running scheme to defraud the Council and its Benefits Fund.

B.C. carpenters end 'epic struggle'

Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun--Members vote in favour of breaking away from U.S.-based union-- B.C. carpenters have voted in favour of a settlement allowing them to break from their U.S.-based union in favour of a newer Canadian union. (read full story)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Union Shop Steward Took Benefit Funds

NORTH COUNTRY GAZETTENEW YORK—A former shop steward and executive delegate of Local 157 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of monies from employee benefit plans.

Prosecutors said that from February through June 2006, Frank Proscia conspired with co-defendant Michael Annucci, also a former shop steward, and others to defraud the District Council of New York City and Vicinity, the administrative body that oversees the New York City local chapters of the Carpenters Union, and the union benefit funds.

Among other things, the defendants submitted false shop steward reports that underreported the number of carpenters and the hours worked by carpenters for a construction contractor at a jobsite located in New York City. L&D Installers, Inc. was a furniture installation and construction contractor that operated in New York City and the vicinity. L&D was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with the District Council. Pursuant to the agreement, L&D was obligated to pay all of its workers at an hourly rate specified in that agreement and to make contributions for each hour worked to the District Council Benefit Funds.

The District Council Benefit Funds, which are covered by the laws governing Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans, provide life insurance, hospitalization, medical care, pension and vacation benefits to union members.

A shop steward’s principal duty is to be the daily “eyes and ears” of the union and to report a contractor’s violations of the collective bargaining agreement. The shop steward is required to submit weekly reports, called “shop steward reports,” to the union office, setting forth the hours worked by each of the union’s members assigned to the jobsite. Thus, the shop steward is required to observe the number of hours worked at the jobsite by the union members in order to report the carpenter-hours accurately each week. Underreporting of hours worked by union carpenters saves the contractor money and shortchanges union workers.

Prosecutors said Proscia knowingly submitted false shop steward reports to Local 157 offices which underreported the number of carpenters and hours worked at the L&D job site at 11 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, where Proscia was serving as shop steward, in order to help L&D evade its obligation to make contributions to the District Council Benefit Funds.

Proscia entered a guilty plea to count two of the indictment, which charged him with aiding and abetting the embezzlement of monies and other assets of the welfare and pension benefit plans of the District Council Benefit Funds.

That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment; a maximum fine of the greatest of $250,000, twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense or twice the gross pecuniary loss to persons other than the defendant resulting from the offense; a term of supervised release of three years and a mandatory $100 special assessment. Annucci is awaiting trial, currently scheduled for January 2008.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Carpenters Union Backs Hillary

Meet Hillary Clinton's latest backers: New York City's Carpenters union. On Thursday October 25, Michael Forde, the head of one of the most powerful construction unions in the state, threw his 25,000-member New York District Council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners behind Clinton's White House run.

The eyebrow-raising, closed-door endorsement broke ranks with the national union.

"Hillary is a friend of the carpenters - always has been," said a union member leaving the endorsement.

"She's a friend of labor," said another. The national carpenters union has backed John Edwards.

Hillary and the carpenters have a history together, in 2000 Forde, backed Hillary during her 2000 Senate run.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Judge Urged to Replace A Union Investigator

In a scathing petition, (read below) federal prosecutors called for ousting the investigator, saying he had done far too little to clean up a union known for helping mobsters get lucrative jobs at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and for taking payoffs so that nonunion employees could be hired.

The United States attorney in Manhattan, Michael J. Garcia, filed a 25-page petition last Friday that repeatedly belittled the investigator, William Callahan, saying his ''tenure has been marked by incomplete and slow-moving investigations'' and ''virtually no new evidence of corruption.''

Mr. Garcia, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, accused Mr. Callahan of failing to follow up on strong investigative leads, not telling federal officials the truth about his investigations and betraying the anonymity of union members who confided to him about corruption.

Two years ago, the union, the New York District Council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, persuaded a federal judge to let it name Mr. Callahan to replace a highly aggressive independent investigator whom the United States attorney wanted to keep.

In his court papers, Mr. Garcia said the former investigator, Walter Mack, did a far better job than Mr. Callahan, saying Mr. Mack had found ''voluminous evidence of both corruption and the union's inability or unwillingness to detect or stop it.''

Mr. Garcia made his request to replace Mr. Callahan in papers filed with Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. of Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Judge Haight helps oversee the carpenters' district council as part of an agreement that the 25,000-member union signed with the federal government in 1994 after prosecutors accused it of being a morass of mob influence, payoffs and off-the-books work.

Mr. Callahan's two-year term officially expired on Aug. 26, but Judge Haight provisionally extended it after the government said it would file papers seeking to have him replaced.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Callahan vowed to fight the government's request. ''Certainly this will be litigated before Judge Haight,'' he said. ''The only comment is we totally disagree with all their conclusions. There have been many accomplishments, but that will be spelled out in our response to this petition.''

Mr. Garcia asserted that Mr. Callahan had failed to pursue evidence that Mr. Mack had developed about off-the-books work, fraud against the union and organized crime involvement in construction at the Cipriani banquet hall at 200 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street. Among the evidence given to Mr. Callahan, federal prosecutors said, were firsthand reports that two convicted felons, ''known labor racketeers,'' were at the construction site.

The United States attorney said that Mr. Callahan's follow-up report reflected no further investigation and no indication that he had interviewed witnesses or took depositions.

Mr. Mack had found many job sites where companies had paid off union officials so that carpenters could be employed off the books, enabling companies to avoid paying benefits or overtime.

Mr. Garcia also attacked Mr. Callahan for not pursuing an investigation of On Par Contracting even though Mr. Mack had given him voluminous evidence of fraud, including omissions of workers from shop steward reports, unreported overtime and jobs where there were no shop stewards to make sure union rules were followed.

Mr. Garcia said rank-and-file carpenters had lost confidence in Mr. Callahan to such a degree that the number of calls to the anticorruption hot line had plummeted.

Charles Stillman, a lawyer for Mr. Callahan's company, Unitel, said, ''From everything I've heard, they've done a first-rate job, and there is no reason for them not to continue.''

On Monday, Judge Haight issued a contempt citation against Michael Forde, the top carpenters' official in New York. Judge Haight fined Mr. Forde $10,000 in ruling that he had rigged the job-referral system in favor of a friend. Judge Haight found that Mr. Forde had told his friend to list certain specific skills that a contractor was looking for, enabling him to jump the line to get a carpenter's job.

Judge Haight wrote that Mr. Forde's conduct was ''dishonorable and revealed his personal contempt'' for the job-referral system and the union's agreement with the government.

Judge Haight cited a report by Mr. Callahan that stated that ''violations routinely occur'' in the job-referral system.

Mr. Forde and the district council's lawyer, Gary Rothman, did not respond to several voice mail messages.

On Nov. 26, Mr. Forde faces a retrial on bribery charges in state court in Manhattan. In 2005, a state judge overturned his conviction and that of a union business agent, Martin Devereaux, finding that jury misconduct had skewed the trial in favor of the prosecution. The two had been convicted of taking payoffs in connection with the use of nonunion workers at a renovation job at the Park Central Hotel.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Carpenters International President Doug McCarron Endorses John Edwards

John Edwards receives the endorsement of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in Nashua, N.H. on September 8, 2007. International President Douglas J. McCarron introduces him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Local 157 Shop Steward Busted

Runnin' Scared Big-Mouth Blockhead Busted
Or, How not to address your arresting officer

New York--March 20th, 2007 --No one likes opening the door at 6:40 a.m. and finding three federal agents on the stoop with an arrest warrant. But even veteran tough guys accustomed to such unexpected breakfast meetings will tell you: Don't aggravate the situation.

Especially not the way a carpenters union shop steward named Michael "Mickey" Annucci did last September 29, when he was arrested in New Jersey for conspiring with a crooked contractor to cheat dozens of union members out of thousands of dollars in wages and benefits by leaving them off his reports to the union.

In a court hearing this week in Manhattan before U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, Annucci's attorney, Joseph DeMatteo, is seeking to get his client's post-arrest statements suppressed. For good reason.

According to federal officials, Annucci greeted the arresting agents with a request to "fuck off." For good measure, he added: "You can all go fuck yourselves." Annucci, 54, thenreally hit them below the belt when they advised him of his Miranda rights. "I thought you'd be better than this, you can't read it," the carpenter allegedly opined, adding that "this wasn't the way it was done on television," according to court filings by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Zornberg.

The feisty Annucci kept up this patter as the agents drove him from his Port Monmouth home to Manhattan for arraignment. "You've never met a man like Mickey Annucci," he boasted. "Mickey Annucci's never been to college, but he has more life experience than any of you."

The cockiness appeared to evaporate moments later, though, as Annucci complained that everyone was picking on him. "I'm the little guy," he moaned. And although he had brushed off the agents' suggestion back at his house that he could help himself by cooperating with the investigation (that part apparently was just like TV), Annucci couldn't resist asking exactly what the agents wanted to know.

According to prosecutor Zornberg, Special Agent Ryan Gibbs of the Office of Labor Racketeering told him they'd be interested in information about a powerful union official named Bill Hanley. Annucci allegedly scoffed that Gibbs should get his "facts straight." He kept mum for a few minutes after that, but then did himself real damage by offering some self-incriminating information: He'd been told to "leave guys off the sheets," he admitted, referring to the steward reports. What's more, he'd "had to play ball" or lose his job.

Annucci's alleged schemes involved a massive, years-long renovation of the old Metropolitan Life complex on Madison Avenue, now the offices of Credit Suisse. According to the indictment, the project was carried out by a New Jersey-based firm called L&D Installers, Inc., whose owner, Gary DiMaria, recently passed away. "Gary," Annucci divined for the officers, "is probably in hell."
Annucci was still cracking wise when the car pulled up at the Department of Labor's offices on Varick Street in Manhattan.

To be on the safe side, agents read him his Miranda rights a second time. "You know what? I only understand Spanish," Annucci said. The officers were happy to comply—Special Agent Marcus Rivera read the warning once more, in the requested language.

While being fingerprinted, Annucci took yet another shot. "You look like you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth," he informed agent Stephen Donnelly.

Annucci later pled not guilty and is awaiting trial (while widely protesting his treatment). Meanwhile, the grand jury probing the corruption case heard testimony from one top carpenters union official last week, and an attorney for union big Hanley said his client expects to be called shortly.