FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 1999
CONTACT: Dan Rene, 703-847-3088 or email@example.com
-- Today the National Legal and Policy Center, a union corruption
watchdog group, commends Darrell Smoot, a member of Laborers'
Int'l Union of North America Local 423 in Columbus, Ohio, for
appealing the 'too lenient' fines ranging from only $800 to $400
-- of Local 423's officers who wrongfully enabled a convicted
felon to run for union office. "Smoot is standing up to the union boss
machine, and that is to be commended," said NLPC Chairman
Ken Boehm. "From Chicago to Columbus, from Connecticut to
California, we have routinely come across examples of LIUNA's
failed 'internal reform effort' slapping hard-working members
in the face."
In December 1998, Smoot filed charges with
LIUNA's failed "internal reform effort" against several
Local 423 officers after the U.S. Department of Labor determined
that the local's newly elected vice-president, Pat Murphy, was
ineligible to hold office. Murphy had been convicted of second-degree
robbery in New York 14 years earlier and, under federal law, was
ineligible to hold office until at least this year. Murphy spent
two years in prison. Local 423 elected Murphy in June 1998 to
vice-president and also delegate to the Ohio Laborers' District
Council. In January 1999, DOL supervised a rerun of both races.
Smoot asserts that before and during the
campaign, he repeatedly told local officers about Murphy's conviction.
In August 1999, LIUNA's "in-house judge" Peter F. Vaira
found that five current and former officers of Local 423 had notice
about Murphy's conviction but failed to act. He fined Murphy and
business agent Robert McCaskill $800 each; three others were fined
$400. Smoot told the Columbus Dispatch on September
25, 1999 that the fines were slaps on the wrist and that he was
appealing the penalty portion of the decision. "My goal
was to have them kicked out of office," Smoot said.
The fined bosses have also appealed. The
appeals will be heard by W. Neil Eggleston, the personal attorney
of Bill Clinton and DOL Secretary Alexis M. Herman for scandal
related matters. "Smoot is right. These fines are mere
slaps on the wrist to these corrupt bosses," said Boehm.
"It is yet another illustration why a U.S. District Judge
and the Department of Justice -- not LIUNA President Arthur A.
Coia and his cronies, should be clean up this historically corrupt
NLPC's Organized Labor Accountability Project
is investigating and exposing corruption in the Teamsters, LIUNA,
HERE, AFL-CIO and other labor organizations. NLPC publishes Union
Corruption Update, a fortnightly newsletter. NLPC is a nonpartisan,
nonprofit foundation promoting ethics and accountability in government
through research, education and legal action.
Please visit www.nlpc.org for more on LIUNA's failed "internal reform effort" and its ethically-challenged "in-house prosecutor" Robert D. Luskin.