Friday, May 21, 2010

Contractor O’Neill Pleas Guilty To Making Payments To Indicted Carpenter Boss Forde

Exclusive...Finbar O'Neill, the contractor prosecutors accused of delivering cash payments to indicted carpenter boss Michael Forde, pleaded guilty yesterday to making payments to Forde, in excess of $100,000 over a ten-year period, on behalf of On Par and KAFCI in exchange for appointment of shop stewards who would permit cash payments to carpenters and other favorable treatment (see information).

On Par Contracting Corporation, was one of the city's busiest construction firms, owned by contractor James Murray. Murray went on the lam in Ireland after he was indicted on federal fraud and embezzlement charges in 2006.

Court records show he was freed on $8 million bond in November 2008 and began plea bargain negotiations with Assistant Manhattan U.S. Attorney Lisa Zornberg, who is prosecuting Forde.

Sources say On Par is one of six unnamed companies that paid bribes to Forde and his cohorts. "It appears Murray may be Contractor No. 1, the unindicted co-conspirator with the deepest involvement in the bribery scheme."

Murray was taught by the best: His first boss in the business was another politically active builder and a reputed Luchese crime family associate, named Finbar O'Neill, who controlled KAFCI, along with Murray, has twice pleaded guilty to his own schemes.

Murray and O'Neill's first company was a wallboard-hanging outfit called K&F Construction. The company was infamous for paying its workers by piece-rate, in violation of the union contract.

Carpenters appropriately renamed K&F as "Kick'em & Fuck'em."

After O'Neill's criminal problems drew heat, Murray went out on his own, operating out of the same Bronx building where O'Neill had been based. The new company, On Par, quickly landed many of the biggest jobs, including the massive conversion of the old office building at 63 Wall Street. It also became notorious for preferring to pay its employees in untraceable cash.

That was the conclusion of Walter Mack, the former court-appointed monitor whose job, thanks to a 20-year-old consent decree, was to check up on the union's operations. "On Par habitually paid carpenters in cash," wrote Mack in a 2005 memo, thus "cheating the district council's benefit funds of well over $10 million that I have been able to identify."

Mack also noted that Murray was assisted by a team of hand-picked union shop stewards who cleverly manipulated the union's appointment process. The designated stewards conveniently neglected to list dozens of union employees on required reports for the union.

It has been well documented by Mack that, District Council Carpenter bosses Mike Forde, Pete Thomassen and Dennis Sheil, "engaged in, at least, willful ignorance" of the corrupt conduct by companies like Tri-Built and On Par, which are believed to be two of the six unnamed contractors in the indictment and were notorious among carpenters as "cash" companies, yet permitted to work corrupt for years.

Dennis Sheil retired on December 31, 2009

Pete Thomassen, (aka, "Sneaky Pete") the much criticized asssistant supervisor, and last man standing in Mike Forde's disgraced “Unity Team," suddenly resigned on Thursday May 6.

Thomassen, the former district council president, never once informed the delegate body or membership about the revelations of corruption that Mack discovered and reported on taking place at the district council.

O’Neill was indicted with Forde and nine others on August 5, 2009.  The 29-count indictment alleges Michael Forde, and nine others were involved in a scheme in which $1 million in bribes and gifts changed hands.

Finbar O’Neill was involved in the scheme in which prosecutors say, union officials falsified reports and turned a blind eye as contractors paid workers below the union rate, hired non-union labor at union only job sites, and skipped out on payments to the unions’ benefits funds.

The benefit funds provide insurance as well as money for retirement for union members.

O’Neill is accused of delivering bribes to Michael Forde and pleaded in Manhattan Federal Court, faces five years in prison.

 On May 3, Page Six reported that, BRIAN CARSON and JOHN STAMBERGER, the two shop stewards charged in the August 5, 2009 indictment along with Forde and others, has also resulted in guilty pleas.

Indicted Aug. 5 were Mr. Forde, the head of the Carpenters Union District Council in New York City; John Greaney, business manager and president of Carpenters Local 608; Brian Hayes, a business agent and Local 608 officer; Mr. Brennan, Brian Carson, Joseph Ruocco, John Stamberger, and Michael Vivenzo, shop stewards; and Mr. Olivieri, a benefits fund trustee and the executive director of the Wall, Ceiling and Carpentry Industries of New York, a trade group representing unionized contractors and Finbar O’Neill who prosecutors accused of helping to deliver cash to Mr. Forde.


  1. And their going to put Costello in supervisors position?


  2. Steve, There is no truth to that rumor...

  3. Well we all knew that Forde was GUILTY years ago. And they let him stay in his position. Assholes.All of them.Along with all the other crooks.


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