By now it’s pretty clear that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is nothing more than another arm of Big Labor inside of Big Government. President Obama sealed the deal for labor when he illegally made his appointments to the board. So it’s no surprise that one of his appointees is named in a lawsuit against a union. Even so, it’s still noteworthy.
The defendant is Richard Griffin, one of three controversial NLRB recess appointments Mr. Obama made in January 2012. Before going to the labor board, Mr. Griffin was general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), a union of heavy-equipment operators with a history of unsavory behavior.
Mr. Griffin is named in a federal complaint filed in October by 10 members of IUOE Local 501, out of Los Angeles, which describes a “scheme to defraud [the local] out of revenue, cost savings and membership,” by means of kickbacks, bribery, violent threats and extortion. The suit names dozens of IUOE officials as defendants, and Mr. Griffin is highlighted in a section describing an embezzlement and its subsequent hush-up.
According to the suit, Local 501’s then-business manager James McLaughlin in 2009 uncovered suspect expenditures by Dennis Lundy, who ran the local’s apprenticeship fund for training and the other costs of new workers. Mr. McLaughlin brought in two colleagues, plus an outside auditor and outside lawyer, to investigate.
The suit says the auditor concluded that in six months in 2007 Mr. Lundy had charged some $26,000 to the fund in food, entertainment, travel and lodging costs. The suit contends that many of the charges went “for expensive lunches with his mistress,” who was a fellow employee at the local. The lawsuit describes even larger sums drawn from the fund in 2006, some of which were “undocumented” or “unsupported” charges and some of which were believed to be “false submissions used to embezzle funds for a cosmetic breast augmentation procedure Lundy obtained” for the mistress.
The investigating trio demanded that Mr. Lundy repay some misappropriated funds. Instead, the suit alleges, Mr. McLaughlin received a call from then-general president of the national operating engineers union, Vince Giblin, described in the lawsuit as a “personal friend” of Mr. Lundy. Mr. Giblin demanded Mr. McLaughlin “drop” the investigation.
When Mr. McLaughlin refused, the lawsuit claims Mr. Giblin began to harass the three local officials and threatened to “punch their ticket.” Mr. Giblin is also accused in the suit of voicing his specific intent to “kill or have these three union officers killed.” In early June 2009, Mr. Giblin removed Mr. McLaughlin from a position on a national pension trust and threatened to strip Local 501 of members unless Mr. McLaughlin resigned as business manager, says the suit.
Enter Mr. Griffin, whom the suit describes as serving as Mr. Giblin’s point man in ensuing negotiations over Mr. McLaughlin’s future. The lawsuit says Mr. Griffin passed along Mr. Giblin’s threats to strip the local of members or place the local in trusteeship unless Mr. McLaughlin resigned and fired one of his co-investigators.
Read the whole thing. Of course, Mr. Griffin and the NLRB had no comment for the article. I suppose they believe that the media will just let this slide, the way this administration gets a pass on everything these days.
The Washington Free Beacon has more on Griffin’s embezzlement cover up.