Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Trusteeship, Defrauding the Membership

Dirty Tricks Scandal at Local 157 – Part Three

On November 26, 2007 UBC Eastern District Vice President Frank Spencer assumed the position of supervisor of the trusteeship of local 157. Spencer quickly supported without question, business representative Lawrence D'Errico as the new so called “leader” of local 157.

At a meeting with the elected officers of local 157 on December 11, 2007, Spencer questioned and criticized the rank and file elected officers but was strangely silent and did not have a word or question for D’Errico, who sat stoned cold silent as Spencer describe the local as an “atrocious mess where the left hand don't know what the right hand is doing."

D’Errico is the only remaining local 157 business representative who worked in this "atrocious mess" who allegedly witnessed, enabled and covered-up the wrong doing in local 157. To date D'Errico has avoided being questioned or held accountable in connection to the corruption in local 157.

Spencer removed all of the elected officers of local 157 without charges ever being filed and said "new officers will be appointed", which is in violation of the UBC constitution.

Spencer canceled the monthly membership meetings and the annual Christmas party—a move that really added insult to injury.

Spencer also froze all of the local’s bank accounts and had the district council pay all of the local union’s bills. He also replaced the local’s accountant with the council’s accountants. None of which is required under the LMRDA Trusteeship requirements.

Outraged members questioned the district councils involvement in the supervision, “why is the council paying the locals bills when the only thing the LMRDA regulations limit is the ability of the International to move money out of the local, it does not require the International to freeze the local’s accounts and stop them from paying their own bills.”

Members also questioned the reason for the trusteeship. “If Hanley and Kennedy resigned, Dilacio fired, Demorato remove and no accusation of financial impropriety or other fraud was found, what is the reason for the continued trusteeship?”

The membership was completely left in the dark, "Nobody knows what the hell is going on," griped a veteran carpenter.

The only source of information was provided by this very unofficial blog. You'd think that in the age of websites and blogs, the details of this coup would have been shared with the membership sooner rather than later.

On February 25, 2008 nearly three months after the takeover of local 157 Spencer authorized “Local 157 Connection”, the official newsletter of Local 157 to be mailed out to the 4500 member local giving some details of the trusteeship.

The newsletter had reports from VP Spencer, EST Forde and D'Errico that falsely stated to the membership, among other things, Local 157 now has "new leadership."

Spencer wrote “New leaders will work for you. With key local offices vacant, supervision enables your local union leaders to restore members’ trust, and Lawrence D’Errico has a solid team working for Local 157 now.”

Forde wrote "During this challenging time of reorganization, new appointments have been made to your local’s "leadership," Lawrence D’Errico has been appointed as the new Business Manager and we have assigned members Anthony Pugliese and Ramadan Ibric as Business Agents.”

D’Errico wrote “We will move this great local forward. I look forward to working with the new leaders of our membership.”

Spencer, Forde and D’Errico all have been criticized for violating the UBC constitution and the LMRDA regulations for administrating a trusteeship and for defrauding the membership into thinking D’Errico and the other council employees are the “new leadership” of local 157.

Fact--District Council employees have no voice or vote in the decision making process that directly affects the membership.

Fact--The UBC constitution clearly states “elected officers” by the membership are the officers ("leaders") of a local union.

If these appointed district council employees are our new so-called “leaders”, how come not one of these "leaders" has “demanded of Supervisor Spencer he answer our questions” an anonymous member asked.

Spencer removed all the elected leadership. Local 157 is under trusteeship and therefore has no “local leadership.” D’Errico, Pugliese and Ibric are nothing more than appointed district council employees.

Spencer by his direct action in referring to D’Errico and the other employees as the “new leaders” of local 157 has “defrauded the 4500-member local" and has tainted the upcoming September 17, 2008 local elections like some third world dictatorship.

Spencer, Forde and D’Errico are in clear violation under the LMRDA regulations. They have conspired and used union funds to promote and campaign for D’Errico who is running for president of local 157. Federal law strictly prohibits the use of union and employer funds to promote the candidacy of any person in a union officer election.

After the newsletter was posted on this blog members quickly began raising questions challenging the trusteeship and lack of monthly union meetings.

“Why are you doing nothing while Forde and Spencer violate the UBC Constitution and illegally install people to run your local?”
"This newsletter is nothing more than promoting and campaigning for D'Errico."

“D’Errico has “violated his fiduciary duty” and not demanded of Mr. Spencer a meeting of the members to install a "Pro Tem President" who according to the constitution has the right and the duty to fill the vacated positions of local 157” an anonymous poster wrote.

Section 32D of the UBC Constitution gives the Recording Secretary of the local the right and duty to call a meeting to order and in the absence of a President and Vice President those present shall elect a “President Pro Tem.”

Spencer is well aware that they cannot fill the local vacancies. He and Forde are attempting to use the EST powers of Forde under Section 31B of the UBC constitution to deny the members rights to fill the vacated positions in Local 157. That is why the “so-called leaders” are being referred to as Business Manager and Business agents and not President, Vice President and Financial Secretary.

"For D’Errico to state that Forde and Spencer appointed me “leader”, D’Errico is to admit that the constitution has been violated."

Mysteriously once members raised questions about the “so-called new leaders” Spencer's approved newsletter was removed from the official Local 157 website, which D'Errico is also illegally using to promote himself.

On March 4th questions posted by members were emailed to Spencer. I spoke with Spencer several times and with his assistant Mike Capelli. On April 11, Mr. Capelli told me "UBC lawyer Brian Quinn, is drafting an answer to the questions and I should have them in a few days." To date Spencer, Capelli and Quinn have refused to answer member’s questions regarding the trusteeship over local 157.

Also on May 1, brother Daniel Franco posted a letter on this blog that he faxed to Spencer on April 11,with questions regarding the trusteeship, which Spencer has ignored and refused to answer.

Spencer gave into the demands of the membership and he mailed out a postcard scheduling what he called an informational meeting on May 7, 2008.

This meeting was the direct result of the member’s discussion and postings of constitutional issues questioning the trusteeship. After the postings on this blog started the required LM15 appeared at the DOL, which was not there in February when the blog discussion began.

On May 7th over two hundred unsuspecting members who have been kept in the dark for six months were shocked and outraged when Spencer abruptly ended the meeting after nominations for election committee member by quickly saying "if there is no other business the meeting is adjourned."

After six months, "We're still not being heard, they gave us the heave-ho by canceling our Christmas Party and they're still giving us the heave-ho with this meeting" griped a veteran union member who didn't want to give his name.

“Meeting was a sham, didn’t give members a chance to say anything, didn’t answer any questions” said Brother Hercules Reid.

"I was so disappointed by what I saw here, no good of the order, we were rushed out the door” said long time union Brother Bruce Miranda.

Members shouted from the floor "questions, we have questions," which VP Spencer ignored as he gaveled the meeting closed after 15 minutes.

"You ask questions and you don't get answers, this is really adding insult to injury" said one member, who didn't want to be identified because he said he is a union steward and didn't want to be "the next to be hauled in there and suspended."

Spencer has come under attack for his refusal to answer member’s questions, defrauding the membership and failing to properly oversee the trusteeship.

“Your actions during this trusteeship Mr. Spencer has been a clear attempt to defraud the membership of Local 157.Your refusal to answer questions ask by the membership and your deferral to Mr. Quinn has betrayed your lack of the required expertise and knowledge required to oversee a trusteeship.”

“The membership of Local 157 was entitled to a competent International representative who has a duty to act in the best interest of the Local 157 members. You however by your actions have proven you are not competent to oversee a Trusteeship.”

" You have conspired with the NYCDC and in particular, by your illegal appointment to the supervision team of EST Mike Forde, to violate the UBC Constitution and LMRDA regulation. You have through ignorance of the requirements, failure to properly oversee the trusteeship or blantant acts of conspiracy worked to defraud members of the UBC as outlined in Section 51 of the constitution. You should be supended pending trial for resolution of these charges."

Spencer canceled the schedule June meeting, in an effort to avoid member’s questions sources say. The next schedule meeting for local 157 is a nomination meeting for officers on July 21, 2008.

Spencer can ill afford to take questions from the membership or have members questioning the trusteeship because they may find out the truth… the trusteeship is an orchestrated strategy to insure D’Errico maintains control over local 157.

D’Errico has admitted as much when he slipped up and said, “We will move this great local forward.”

D’Errico has no required constitutional authority to move anything-forward much less local 157.

D’Errico is a District Council puppet and a flake phony fraud.

The dirty secret is…keep the membership in the dark by suspending monthly meetings, avoid answering questions, mislead and defraud the membership into thinking D’Errico is already the new president (“leader”) and hold elections after enough time has passed so everyone forgets the circumstances that led up to the trusteeship.

This illustrates the tragic and shameful level to which 21st century union politics has sunken.

Sources say rank and file members are planning a demonstration at the July 21st meeting if Spencer tries shutting the meeting down without taking questions from the membership.

Next Week part four: The Cover Up, What Did D’Errico Know and When Did He Know It

Series at a glance:


  1. John, you rock... thank you for connecting the dots. Formal charges should filed against Spencer, Forde and D'Errico for defrauding the members.

  2. That's exactly what they'll be charged with, in many of its forms.

  3. Lawrence in the picture you look like you are facing a firing

  4. Nice job, John. Is there any way that we could package this information and give it to the DOL or whoever can get some legal action going before members "forget" how this all came about. I s there anyway to reach members that do not see this site. I have been telling members to look here. Thanks again. I will help where I can to expose this.

  5. I'd like to address the previous post please.
    I need to guarantee all members of this District Council & brotherhood in genral, but as a 157member I speak more specifically to the point at hand, that they will be informed as to the exact facts and circumstances revolving around this dirty criminal 157 thing.

    Simply forgetting isn't an option for the people who know better and when it comes out there'll be a few more people needing to be swept under the carpet or put out in the trash, - No mongo here !

    From the start this all took place and was designed for an ultimate purpose by the DC for the DC. A smokescreen to blur modern day realities as to the extent of corruption, how far up the DC it goes and that this took place when millions were being spent to combat its prevelance.
    Lest I not include Millions of benefit money where you and I could reap a profit those funds were being pilfered over the past 14 years.

    We have to assume Macks efforts which made the most sense were not properly responded to after his removal, and he was quite interested in 157 and the DC in general.
    The DC knew there'd come a time in 2008 that they'd be arguing to nullify the Consent Decree.

    Was it brilliance or serendipity which brought the Gov't to issue the II's challenge a month prior to the 157 scandal and any such claims of proactivity before this.

    Act one, - Get Mack out.
    Act two, - Get Callahan In

    Advance to 11/07. Act three.
    --- the Lambs ---
    Sorry Bill. Sorry Spence,- too late.

    These idiots were removed because of the Annuci & Partners guilty verdict and they were implicated. So in generalizing the " Wrong " behavior of 157 personel as being out of jurisdiction during cel calls they get to keep their pension. There's no stated connection between the millions lost and 157 delegates. They must stand accountable and be charged !
    The DC is then able to administer its own brand of justice without the union charging them because they found the problem. I said for the DC by the DC but nonetheless they get that retirement benefit, NOT ! We've got to stop that.

    There's no answers coming from anyone and that's what they need untill the fall when Haight decides about the decree. What do they do best with our money in tne legal dept., DELAY.

    I know a fact, - There were other investigations being coducted but Billy, Fred, and George were always obstructing any justice along with the Anti Corruption Committee, therby Mr. Thomassen and Company were asleep at the wheel.

    The saga isn't over I promise but when the time comes you've got to act !

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I would ask that if you would like to leave a comment that you think of Local 157 Blogspot as your online meeting hall and that you wouldn’t say anything on this site that you wouldn’t, say at a union meeting. Constructive criticism is welcome, as we all benefit from such advice. Obnoxious comments are not welcome.