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Transit Union

Criminal Charges

Office of Labor-Management Enforcement

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) conducts both civil and criminal investigations of alleged violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) and related laws.

These investigations by OLMS District Offices involve issues such as embezzlements of union funds, union officer elections, the filing of required reports by unions and others with OLMS, and the imposition of trusteeships over subordinate unions by a parent body. These investigations may result in legal enforcement actions.

DateDescription
September 4th, 2012On September 4, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Claude Huff, former Business Manager/President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1385 (located in Dayton, Ohio), pled guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The amount will not exceed $110,348.49. On February 14, 2012, Huff was indicted for the same charge. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
March 15th, 2012On March 15, 2012, in the Justice Court, Las Vegas Township, Clark County Nevada, Rose Marie Sotak, former President/Business Agent and acting Financial Secretary Treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1758 (located in Las Vegas, Nev.), was charged with one count of felony theft. The complaint includes a warrant for Sotak’s arrest with a cash and surety bail of $10,000. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.
February 15th, 2012On February 15, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Thomas Conley, former President and Vice President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1738 (located in Latrobe, Pa.), was charged in a two-count indictment for embezzling $15,432.26 in union funds and falsifying union records. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
March 16th, 2011On March 16, 2011, in Polk County, Minnesota Circuit Court, a complaint was filed against Michelle Jean Nelson, former President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7272 (located in Erskine, Minn.), charging her with felony theft by false representation between $1,000 and $5,000, in violation of Minnesota State Statute 609.52.2(3) and 609.52.3(3)(a). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office and OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.
March 2nd, 2011On March 2, 2011, in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Terri Dunkelberger, former Financial Secretary Treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1356 (located in Sioux Falls, S.D.), was indicted on three counts of embezzlement of union funds in the approximate amount of $4,148.98. On June 3, 2010, Dunkelberger was also indicted for one count of embezzlement of union funds in the approximate amount of $24,148.98. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office and Milwaukee District Office.
June 3rd, 2010On June 3, 2010, in United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Terri Dunkelberger, former Financial Secretary Treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1356 (located in Sioux Falls, S.D.), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the approximate amount of $24,148.98. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office and Milwaukee District Office.
November 17th, 2008On November 17, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Jeffrey Baker, former co-chairman of the Picket Committee for Machinists Local Lodge 1943 (located in Middletown, Ohio), was charged with one count of making a false entry in a union record when he misappropriated approximately 107 strike pay checks and forged members signatures on check registers for 101 checks. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
October 18th, 2007On October 18, 2007, in the Justice Court of Copiah County, Mississippi, Luke Funchess, Roger Hartley, Charles Funchess, Patricia West-Benson and Jack Virgil, former officers of IUE/CWA Local 83-799, were charged with one count of obtaining signature or thing of value with intent to defraud. The former officers filed false lost time vouchers to obtain funds from the local. Subsequently, the former officers each pled guilty to the offense and were ordered to pay court fees and restitution. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS New Orleans District Office.
October 31st, 2006On October 31, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Michael Kennedy, former Financial Secretary for Painters Local 720, pled guilty to embezzlement of union funds. In a previously sealed indictment, Kennedy was charged with embezzling $15,612 by writing 84 unauthorized checks to himself, for cash, and to third parties. He was also charged with forging signatures and with making false entries in union books and records. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.
February 10th, 2005On February 10, 2005, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Dean Kirkland, a salesman for Capital Consultants, LLC. (CCL), was sentenced to two years in prison followed by two years of supervised release. In addition, he was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $15,756.20, and to pay a $100 assessment for each of the 24 counts for which he was convicted. On June 16, 2004, Kirkland was convicted of multiple counts of offering and giving gratuities and wire fraud. Also, he was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice for lying to federal investigators. Kirkland was charged following an investigation into his role in the collapse of CCL, which involved $350 million in losses, mostly from union pension funds. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. [Related documents: HTML | PDF]
October 27th, 2004On October 27, 2004, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, an indictment was filed against Doris J. Blue, current president of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 2207, charging her with forgery and obstruction of justice. The indictment alleges that Blue forged the presiding judge's signature on a document purporting to be a valid court order. The charges follow a joint investigation by the OLMS Nashville District Office and the FBI.
August 18th, 2004On August 18, 2004, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Derrick Thomas, former secretary-treasurer of Glass, Molders, & Plastics Union Local 138, was indicted on one count of embezzlement of $10, 297.72 in union funds. The charge alleges that he negotiated unauthorized checks by forging the president's co-signature and making them payable to himself from the union's checking account. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office. [Related documents: HTML |PDF]
July 15th, 2004On July 15, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Dennis Paul Talbott, former secretary-treasurer of Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Talbott pled guilty to one count of accepting a gratuity in connection with his duties as a trustee of an employee benefit plan. The gratuity he accepted involved hunting and fishing trips paid for by Capital Consultants (CCL). CCL was involved in the loss of over 350 million dollars-mostly from union pension funds. The conviction follows an investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General and the Employee Benefit Security Administration. [Related documents: HTML |PDF]
June 16th, 2004On June 16, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Dean Kirkland, a salesman for Capital Consultants, LLC. (CCL), was convicted of offering and promising illegal gratuities, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice for lying to federal agents. Union trustees and co-defendants Gary Kirkland (Dean's father) and Robert Legino were acquitted of accepting illegal gratuities. Dean Kirkland was charged on August 22, 2002, as a result of an investigation into the dissolution of CCL involving $350 million in losses, mostly from union pension funds. The conviction follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
June 3rd, 2004On June 3, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Andrew Alan Wiederhorn, co-founder of Wilshire Financial Services, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,000,000 in restitution. Wiederhorn pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with unlawful payment of a gratuity and the filing of a false tax return. The charges result from an investigation into the collapse of Capital Consultants, LLC. (CCL) involving $350 million in losses, mostly from union pension funds. The conviction follows an investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the FBI, the IRS, the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. [Related documents: HTML |PDF]
June 20th, 2003On June 20, 2003, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, a jury found Patricia Ford, former secretary-treasurer of the Public Employees Federation, guilty of bribery. Ford was found guilty of agreeing to receive free campaign literature from a public relations consultant in exchange for an agreement to place that consultant on retainer from the union if she won re-election. Ford was found not guilty of embezzlement by the jury. It was alleged that the consultant over billed the union for the cost of the personal campaign literature and that the union paid those charges. The three other counts in the original indictment were dismissed prior to the trial. The charges had been brought following an investigation by the OLMS Buffalo District Office.
April 9th, 2003On April 9, 2003, in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Frank Darvis, former treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 891, pled guilty to embezzlement and falsifying signatures on more than 60 union checks which he made payable to himself. Darvis was indicted for embezzling $29,865 in union funds on January 8, 2003. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.
November 18th, 2002On November 18, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Dennis Talbot, former secretary-treasurer of Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 in Cleveland, Ohio, pled guilty to an information charging him with accepting and soliciting gratuities in return for using his influence as a pension fund trustee. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General and Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, the IRS, and the FBI.
November 14th, 2002On November 14, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, John L. Dorrier Jr., former business agent of Operating Engineers Local 66, pled guilty to three counts of a 10-count indictment charging him with embezzlement of union funds, forgery, and interference with the administration of Internal Revenue laws. Dorrier falsified 976 picket expense vouchers by completing them in the names of union members and others who had not done any picketing and approximately 104 fictitious picketers. Dorrier routinely obtained checks from the union and forged payee signature endorsements before depositing or cashing the checks into his personal bank account. Annually the checks to each fictitious picketer purposely totaled less than $600, a threshold amount that would have triggered the required filing of IRS Form 1099. Dorrier has agreed to make restitution to the union in the amount of $56,195.00 and to take responsibility for a tax loss to the Internal Revenue Service in an amount between $23,500.00 and $40,000.00. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office and the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
August 22nd, 2002On August 22, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Dean Kirkland, a former employee of Capital Consultants, LLC, was indicted on 20 counts of giving, offering and promising gratuities to Gary Kirkland and Robert Legino, union pension trustees, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1954 and aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2. He was also charged under 18 U.S.C 981 and 28 U.S.C. 2461 requiring forfeiture of any property obtained as a result of the other counts in the indictment. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, and the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General.
August 22nd, 2002On August 22, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Gary Kirkland and Robert Legino, former union pension fund trustees, were indicted on 12 counts and 8 counts respectively of accepting and soliciting gratuities to use their influence as pension plan trustees in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1954 and aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C.2. Both were also charged under 18 U.S.C 981 and 28 U.S.C. 2461 requiring forfeiture of any property obtained as a result of the other counts in the indictment. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, and the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General.
June 4th, 2002On June 4, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Alfred S. Garappolo, a partner in the accounting firm Thomas Havey LLP, pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with being an accessory after the fact to embezzlement from an employee welfare benefit plan in violation of 18 U.S.C. 3 and concealing and covering up a material fact in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. He pled guilty to assisting Kerry Tresselt, the bookkeeper for the Iron Workers National Training Fund, in order to hinder or prevent her apprehension, trial and punishment for her embezzlement from the Training Fund. He also pled guilty to knowingly and willfully concealing and failing to disclose to OLMS investigators statements made at a September 1992 meeting by Victor Van Bourg, then general counsel of the Iron Workers International Union, to Jake West, then the international president. These statements were to the effect that the Havey Company should be replaced as the Iron Workers' accountants if Havey accountants did not assist the scheme to underreport and conceal the true nature and amount of the union's disbursements for its officers on the union's annual financial report, Form LM-2, filed with OLMS. The documents filed as part of the plea agreement charge that after the meeting, Havey accountants aided and assisted in the preparation of union reports that concealed the true amount of union disbursements for union officers Jake West, LeRoy Worley, and James Cole. This is part of an ongoing investigation that has resulted in the guilty pleas of six former officials and employees of the Iron Workers to a variety of embezzlement and conspiracy charges. Former President Jake West and former General Secretary LeRoy Worley, have been indicted and are separately awaiting trial. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
October 2nd, 2001On October 2, 2001, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Jeffrey Grayson, CEO of Capital Consultants, LLC, was indicted on 14 counts of mail fraud in connection with devising a scheme to defraud union pension plans, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341. He was also charged with three counts of giving and offering to give over $200,000 in gratuities to John Abbott, a union pension trustee, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1954; three counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1956(a); one count of witness tampering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512; and one count of conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, and the Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General.
February 26th, 2001On February 26, 2001, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, John Abbott, former secretary-treasurer of the Laborers District Council of Oregon, Southern Idaho, and Wyoming, pled guilty to one count of accepting $194,940 in gratuities to use his influence as a pension plan trustee in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1954 and one count of filing a false tax return by omitting gratuities of $76,560 in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7206(1). The charges had been brought following an investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office, the IRS, FBI, the Department of Labors Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, and the Department of Labors Office of the Inspector General.