Friday, May 7, 2010

Thomassen Resigns, Indictment Expected

BREAKING NEWS, STORY STILL DEVELOPING...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. Inside sources say Thomassen has hired a lawyer and is expected to be indicted soon.

Insiders said Supervisor Frank Spencer held a close door meeting with Thomassen and painted him as a continuation of the Forde's administration's failed policies.

On August 5, 2009 carpenter boss Mike Forde, along with nine others were arrested and charged with a 29-count indictment for corruption, racketeering, bribery and perjury, in a conspiracy that stretches over a decade, involving six contractors, business agents, business manager, benefit fund trustees, shop stewards, associates, council employees and testing positive for cocaine use.

On May 3, 2010 Page Six reported: "BRIAN CARSON and JOHN STAMBERGER, the two shop stewards charged in the August 5, 2009 indictment along with MIKE FORDE, has resulted in guilty pleas to numerous acts of corruption and are said to pay a $100,000 fine, serve 30 months in prison, and have been singing like canary's to the feds."

On September 11, 2009 I wrote Spencer a letter and criticized his highly questionable action of naming Thomassen as his assistant supervisor following the “emergency supervision”.

“As supervisor you could have used your authority and named an individual from outside the district council and/or local union untouched by scandal and corruption. Maybe some other business manager or business agent could have brought a fresh perspective and new direction to both council and local operations. Instead by naming Mr. Thomassen who has become embroiled in so many disgraceful scandals that he has proved himself entirely unworthy of membership trust or authority you have signaled to the membership you are not serious in cleaning up the District Council and its “business as usual”.

Every carpenter I have spoken with on the condition of anonymity agreed that Thomassen should have been fired along with Mike Forde. "Thomassen has betrayed the carpenters, has no integrity, was Forde's biggest enabler and defender, and he has broken the sacred bond of trust between union officials and the members that elect them."

On April 25, 2010 Page Six reported: "The feds are not finished investigating the scandal-scared New York City District Council of Carpenters. Informed sources say a grand jury is hearing testimony against Pete Thomassen, for among other things, allegedly authorizing huge pay raises without delegate approval to his assistant and his son, the hiring of Council employees with close ties to 
Thomassen, personal use of Council property, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on 5 star restaurants, hotels, first class plane tickets, misuse and fraud regarding the Carpenters Charity and Relief Fund and having work done on his house by a union contractor in exchange for letting the contractor pay employees at his work sites below minimum wage and off the books."

The scandel-scared Thomassen has been sharply criticized following the recent revelations regarding his executive assistant, MARIA SABATER, who was fired last Friday for allegedly using a union issued credit card for personal expenses authorized by Thomassen. Insiders said Sabater, who reportedly makes over $100,000 annually, ran up over $25,000 in personal charges on the district council's credit card.

He has also been attacked for his alleged role in covering-up his sons actions, John Thomassen, a council employee who shaved off the hair on his head and removed all the hair from his body in order to avoid detection of drug use.

The following is a partial reprint of my September 11, 2009 letter to Spencer (which I never received a response) and testimony given at the UBC Hearing detailing Thomassen’s actions as council president:

Peter Thomassen along with Dennis Sheil was part of Mike Forde's “Unity Team”. Both were and are his biggest supporters, defenders and enablers of the “culture of corruption” that exist at the district council.

As a delegate to the district council from 1999 to 2008 and a candidate for district council vice president in 2008 I can state conclusively that Mr.Thomassen never once informed the delegate body about the corruption the Independent Investigator, Walter Mack, discovered and reported in numerous reports (Boom, Tri-Built, Special Request, among others) taking place at the district council.

From 2003 thru 2005 Mr. Mack uncovered nests of job site corruption, where shop stewards routinely falsified reports and accepted bribes to allow certain contractors to routinely operate large “cash jobs” on major construction sites without detection from the district council.

Mack’s detailed reports show not only that corruption continues to infiltrate the union, but also that District Council officers and business agents have done an “inadequate job of weeding it out and have been either complicit in corruption or, at a minimum, not doing their jobs”.

On June 3, 2005 Mack filed a report on Tri-Built Construction, a corrupt drywall contractor that operated in New York City and Long Island. In the report, among other things, Mack wrote “unfortunately, I have been stymied in my attempts to explore how and with whose assistance a corrupt employee would be able to remove shop steward reports from the District Council’s offices. At the current stage of the investigation, it is impossible to know how many other contractors were able to cheat the District Council and the Benefit Funds with this crude but effective methodology, but I am certain that others exist”.

It is well documented that the district council knew of Tri-Built’s corruption as early as April 2004, most likely even earlier, and did nothing to stop it. No job shut downs, no audits, no business agents informed, no shop stewards removed, nothing.

In November of 2004 Thomassen obstructed Mack's investigation of Tri-built and hired Kroll to take over the investigation from Mack. Thomassen never informed or reported to the delegate body Mack's detailed reports, investigations of corruption, the blocking of Mack's investigation and the hiring of Kroll. To date the findings of the Kroll investigation are unknown.

Time and time again what was Thomassen response to Mack’s revelations about corruption, ignore it and attack the messenger.

In December 2004 the District Council, led by Thomassen, gave notice to Mack by letter, of its intent to fire him; the termination letter cites no reason or cause for terminating Mack.

Thomassen informed the delegates of this action, after the fact on May 11, 2005 at a regular schedule delegate body meeting. Thomassen said the council was unhappy with the “run away cost and the abuse” from Mack. “You don’t know what we went through; It’s been a rough two years of abuse to our members and business agents.” Thomassen also chastised the frivolous anonymous callers to the Hotline Mack operated saying, “if a member has corruption to report he should leave his name”. In the two years that Walter Mack has been investigating Thomassen said, Mack “did not find one business agent doing anything wrong".

Supporters of Mack believe he was fired because of the corruption he was uncovering (which Forde and others have been indicted) and the lack of will by the District Council Officers to combat it.

Mack also reported that the Districts Councils “anti-corruption program” lacked any truly independent investigator responsible for looking into allegations of corruption and found that the District Council was guilty of “at the very least negligence” and has been compromised and questioned the council’s commitment to combat corruption.

It should be noted that while Forde was distracted with his prior indictments and alleged drug use, twice he would be tried, the first he would be convicted and acquitted on appeal; the second he would be acquitted at trial, Thomassen was running the day-to-day council operations (Forde said as much during the 2008 elections).

In June 2001, in violation of the UBC constitution, 1994 Consent Decree and more importantly the trust of the membership, Thomassen along with Forde secretly bargained away the job referral rules, without notifying or seeking the approval of the 15-member negotiating team, the 88-member elected delegate body, the rank-and-file and the federal government who has oversight supervision.

On November 5, 2004 Mack filed a report on the 50/50 Rule and Request System. Mack concluded that bargaining away the job referral rules and the “current request system reduces the out-of-work-list into a paperwork dance with little value to anyone but the contractors who can select the Carpenters they want to work for them.” All the while, the district council encouraged out-of-work carpenters to use the out-of-work list as their source of employment.

Once again Thomassen never informed the delegates about Mack’s report or the devastating effects of the “request system”.

According to Thomassen's sworn testimony on April 12, 2005, the council negotiated the 2001 contract change with Joe Olivieri, (also indicted with Forde) a benefit fund trustee and director of the Association of Wall and Ceiling and Carpentry. According to Thomassen in exchange for “the best contract we have ever negotiated”, he “sold” the job referral rules to the association, and gave them what they wanted, the ability to request and hire 100% of the carpenter work force.

That contract change which Forde and/or Thomassen never reported to the delegates or membership, eviscerated the job referral rules, effectively rendered the 50/50 rule a nullity, left carpenters vulnerable to corruption, reduce the out-of-work list into a meaningless “paperwork dance”, violated the 1994 Consent Decree, led to a guilty of contempt charge on February 20, 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals, cost millions of dollars in litigation, left carpenters to languish on a phony out-of-work list without knowledge that their was little hope of getting a job, deprived the union of having at the job site carpenters whose primary loyalty is to the union rather than the contractor and led us to where we are today!

Thomassen deceived everyone, from the delegate body, to the membership to the federal government. For that act alone Pete Thomassen should be brought up on charges for defrauding the union and egregious breach of fiduciary responsibility.

Mr. Thomassen has never acknowledged any wrong doing on his part and has stated, everything he did “was with the knowledge of the delegate body”. Minutes of the delegate body meeting and current indictment however do not support that claim.

Thomassen also has never ever presented to the delegate body (which he has a duty to do so) a detailed budget of the district council for approval by the delegates. Since the “Unity Teams” election in 1999 District Council spending has skyrocketed from $19 million to over $50 million in 2008!

In June of 2003, Thomassen and the benefit fund trustees created a new benefit fund know as the “Supplemental Pension Fund”. Thomassen at the time told the delegates “our welfare fund was doing so well that the trustees have decided beginning July 1, 2003 to reduced the hourly contributions in the welfare fund by $1 per hour and reallocate the $1 per hour into this new fund”.

Thomassen also stated “this reallocation of $1 per hour from the welfare fund to the “supplemental pension fund” is seamless to the membership and only a temporary measure as a way to infuse some extra money into the pension fund to help build up the pension fund assets” and "the trustees will monitor the funds closely and move the $1 per hour back to the welfare fund should it become necessary."

Fast forward present day: this $1 dollar per hour “Supplemental Pension Fund” has now grown to over 100 million dollars where members see no pension benefit credit. Members have had a portion of their yearly hourly raises directed into the welfare fund and yet this “temporary supplemental pension fund”, which we never had before, still exists! It begs the question, why?

In all these action’s, Mr. Thomassen has failed to inform and has deceived the delegate body and the membership of this union that pays his salary. Time and time again Mr. Thomassen has mislead and lied to the membership and delegate body.

As president, Thomassen not only has demonstrated his moral failings, but his unwillingness to detect corruption and/or drug use taking place foot steps from his office. Instead he has enabled it, protected it, covered it up and watched it flourish on his watch.

4 comments:

  1. For The Membership....May 7, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Frank,


         <span> Thank You!</span>


    You did the Right Thing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. John, keep up the excellent job!

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  4. I think you’ve made some truly interesting points. Not too many people would actually think about this the way you just did.

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