Eleven members of construction trades unions, including the president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, have been charged with offences including bribery, fraud and racketeering.
These union officials were in fact engaged in an enterprise of corruption at the expense of the hardworking men and women they claimed to represent– Timothy Sini, Suffolk County District Attorney
The 11 are current or former officials of Local 638, a pipe-fitting union in New York City and Long Island. The federal indictment claims they accepted bribes worth $100,000, including loans that they did not repay, meals and drinks, labour on their personal property and home appliances.
According to prosecutors at the US Attorney General’s Office in the Southern District of New York, James Cahill, the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council’s president, played a leading role in the alleged bribery.
Cahill was a former business agent Local 638. The indictment alleges that Cahill and his associates received bribes in exchange for taking actions favourable to non-union employers.
Three charges have been brought against the 11 defendants. Racketeering conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years; honest services fraud conspiracy also has a 20-year maximum; violation of the Taft-Hartley Act carries a maximum five-year sentence.
Timothy Sini, Suffolk County District Attorney, setting out his office’s claims, said: "These union officials – who purported to be the ones looking out for workers and their rights – were in fact engaged in an enterprise of corruption at the expense of the hardworking men and women they claimed to represent."
Image: Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier