Saturday, August 8, 2009

Culture of Corruption: Forde and His Team of Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

Wednesday August 5, 2009, federal authorities charged New York carpenters union leader Michael J. Forde, seven other union officials, a contractor, and contractor’s representative with 29 counts of corruption, including racketeering, fraud, bribery, and perjury. According to the charges, bribes were paid out to union leaders to allow contractors around the city to pay cash to workers at below union-rate wages and therefore avoid paying benefits.

The New York District Council of Carpenters and Joiners of America has been here before. In 1990, the union had been infiltrated by organized crime and the federal government came in, cleaned out union leadership, and established monitoring. Yet, here we are again.

Union leader Forde was hailed as a reformer in 2000, after his predecessor was indicted on corruption charges, but his tenure has been plagued by no fewer than two bribery charges-—one ending in an overturned conviction and the other in acquittal. This apparently didn’t set off any alarms for court-appointed and union-paid monitor, William Callahan, who was almost removed in 2007 for a lack of evidence he was actually doing his job—but a federal judge refused to remove him. Fast forward two years.

Last week's slew of charges is the activity the court-appointed corruption monitor is in place to prevent. Clearly the current system of corruption monitoring isn’t working.

Forde and His Team of Cheats, Crooks and Cronies are specifically charged with the following offenses:

Ct Charge Defendant(s) Maximum Penalty
1 Racketeering
Conspiracy
FORDE, GREANEY,
HAYES, O'NEILL,
BRENNAN
20 years in prison;
fine of the greater of
$250,000 or twice the
gross gain or loss from
the offense
2 Racketeering FORDE, GREANEY, HAYES, BRENNAN 20 years in prison; fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
3 Conspiracy (as to Contractor #1) FORDE, GREANEY, O'NEILL, BRENNAN, OLIVIERI, CARSON, RUOCCO, STAMBERGER, VIVENZIO 5 years in prison; fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
4 Conspiracy (as to Contractor #2) FORDE, GREANEY, HAYES 5 years in prison; fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
5 Conspiracy (as to Contractor #3) GREANEY, HAYES 5 years in prison; fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
6 Conspiracy (as to Contractor #4) GREANEY, HAYES 5 years in prison; fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
7 Wire Fraud and Deprivation of Honest Services (as to Contractor #1) FORDE, GREANEY, BRENNAN, O'NEILL, CARSON, RUOCCO, STAMBERGER, VIVENZIO 20 years in prison; fine of the greater of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
8 Wire Fraud and Deprivation of Honest Services (as to Contractor #2) FORDE, GREANEY, HAYES 20 years in prison; fine of the greater of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
9 Wire Fraud and Deprivation of Honest Services (as to Contractor #3) GREANEY, HAYES 20 years in prison; fine of the greater of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
10 Wire Fraud and Deprivation of Honest Services (as to Contractor #4) GREANEY, HAYES 20 years in prison; fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
11 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative FORDE, O'NEILL 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
12 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative GREANEY 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
13 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative GREANEY, HAYES 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
14 Unlawful Payments to Labor Representatives OLIVIERI 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
15 Unlawful Acceptance of Payments to Labor Representative HAYES 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
16 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative BRENNAN 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
17 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative VIVENZIO 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
18 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative CARSON 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
19 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative STAMBERGER 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
20 Unlawful Acceptance of Payment by Labor Representative RUOCCO 5 years in prison; fine of $15,000
21 Acceptance of Loan to Influence Operations of Employee Benefit Plan OLIVIERI 3 years in prison; fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense
22 Perjury OLIVIERI 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
23 Perjury FORDE 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
24 Perjury GREANEY 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
25 Perjury HAYES 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
26 Perjury BRENNAN 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
27 Perjury CARSON 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
28 False Statements RUOCCO 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000
29 Obstruction of Justice BRENNAN 10 years in prison; fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense

GREANEY, 49, of Yonkers, New York; HAYES, 38, of New York, New York; OLIVIERI, 54, of Yonkers, New York; CARSON, 49, of the Bronx, New York; RUOCCO, 49, of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; STAMBERGER, 52, of Brick, New Jersey; and VIVENZIO, 61, of Mahwah, New Jersey, were arrested this morning. FORDE, 54, of Woodside, New York, is expected to surrender to federal authorities later today. O'NEILL, 44, of Paramus, New Jersey, and BRENNAN, 53, of Bushkill, Pennsylvania; remain at large.

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