McGough’s informal reply to Bloch’s distortion of the truth, the facts of the case are in red
March 6, 2000
I don�t usually take the time to respond to Jim McGough�s e-mails, but today has been a good day, an important day for the Laborers� Chicago District Council, and when Jim�s e-mail was brought to my attention I thought it best to respond
. Nor does he respond to requests to web publish free of charge the “public” transcripts of the Chicago Laborers District Council trusteeship hearings.
Today, after two years, three weeks and four days of trusteeship, democratically elected District Council officers were sworn in.� The new leadership is a fine group of capable, intelligent and dedicated officers whose independence and honesty were confirmed by a court-appointed monitor.
The court monitor did not confirm the honesty and independence of the new leadership. He did not have any evidence yet to prove they were not honest and independent of organized crime influence. The� new leaders are not, as Bloch contends, capable and intelligent. These are the same delegates who do not by their own admitted testimony read newspapers much less recognize the obvious fact that organized crime controlled the Laborers union. Intelligent? Far from it.
�� The Union�s new International General President flew into Chicago to personally swear in the officers.�� This was the day that Jim McGough has claimed to be awaiting for a long time.� It finally came.
McGough first began complaining in 1987 to DOL-OIG-Office of Labor Racketeering about organized crime’s control and influence in the Laborers Union. This is a matter of public record. Where are Bloch’s complaints as a union lawyer about corruption in labor unions?
I had heard about Jim�s e-mails and their wild accusations for some time, but I wasn�t moved to respond to them until today.� Jim�s e-mail contains so many inaccuracies that it�s hard to know where to begin.� I�ll take the most serious charges in order.
Bloch was requested to reply to any inaccuracies he detected many times. This is his first reply. Assertions that have been found inaccurate because all the facts were not revealed have been retracted promptly in the past. One retraction in two years.
1.� Jim alleges an improvidently-granted variance means that only one person, rather than two,� now signs checks.
Actually, what happened is that on December 13, 1999, then-General President Arthur Coia granted a variance combining the offices of President and Secretary-Treasurer.� At the same time, he also granted a variance authorizing the Business Manager to be the co-signer on checks.� Thus, two elected officers will continue to perform that function.
The press release does not reveal this variance. McGough had formally requested the Court Monitor in 1999 to obtain a court order prohibiting the granting of variances by LIUNA’s General President.� McGough does not want the General President of LIUNA to have the power to grant variances to constitutional requirements any more than he wants president Clinton to have the power to abolish grand juries.
2.� Jim alleges that I �permitted� certain officers to be elected so that these officers would retain my law partner as counsel to the benefit funds.�
This is a truly cynical allegation revealing Jim�s belief that no one in the Laborers� Union is capable of independent thought or action.� First of all, I did not choose who ran for office in the election.
Via appointments, delegations of responsibilities to “favored” delegates, patronage, etc Trustee Bloch has “permitted” (facilitated) the political stature of some and not others. He picked the trustees to the pension fund, the editors of the newsletter, the deputy trustees etc� He refused to implement Romano and Sladowski’s suggestion that the delegates be educated on union history. He fired Sladowski for suggesting educational programs for the members. Ask Ed if he got fired after he did “the dirty deed” and got Dowd selected as counsel.
� The only person who was empowered to disqualify candidates was the court-appointed Monitor, Steven Miller.� Miller approved all of the elected candidates.
The monitor did not “approve” . He “allowed”.
�Second, my partner Peter Dowd is fund co-counsel for 2 of the 6 Laborer pension and welfare funds.� Those 2 funds also have a second co-counsel who is unaffiliated with my law firm.
The second co-counsel is the employer’s counsel.
� Third, I am not a trustee of any benefit fund, and I have never been one.� Thus, Peter Dowd�s appointment is not a conflict of interest.� Bloch’s opinion. The fees derived from his partner’s services� paid for Bloch’s office rent. This is the most serious charge and one McGough will pursue.
�Furthermore, it is a common practice in union-side labor law firms that different attorneys from the same firm represent the union and its benefit funds� When duly elected members, not trustees, pick them� When trustees pick them, McGough contends, the trustee should not pick his law partner.� He should avoid the appearance of impropriety. He should not enrich himself via his appointments.
.�� Fourth, unlike Jim, I believe that the elected officers of the Union are capable of thinking for themselves and making their own decisions. �Jim evidently thinks not.��
McGough thinks union members are very capable of thinking for themselves and making their own decisions. He wants those decisions to be “informed” decisions. That’s why he publishes the facts and provides information the trustee refuses to make available to the members, like telling the members the purpose of the trusteeship was because of organized crime control of the district council.� If Bloch can show McGough a publication to the membership revealing this fact, McGough will pull off a Luskin and push a peanut. .
Jim does state correctly that Harvey Nathan and others were temporarily appointed as trustees to the 2 funds.� There was a good reason for this.� The Union was placed in trusteeship and the Independent Hearing Officer who placed it in trusteeship, Peter Vaira, specifically directed that fund trustees be investigated.� I initially removed all of the trustees from both these funds (in addition to removing all Union officers) and required all newly-appointed trustees to be investigated before returning them to the fund.� This process took about 2-3 months.� Again, one would expect Jim to applaud this process since it was intended to remove corrupt officers and trustees.�
McGough applauded this process but could not understand how J. Mike Lazzaretto was re-appointed when he served� as trustee with Crime Boss Vincent Solano and never complained. Sladowski was fired because he wanted to investigate the funds contends McGough. That’s where the money is . That’s why organized crime wants to control the district council. For the last time. Ron Fino, whose testimony convicted many, told me many times that John Michael Lazzaretto would be Coia’s point man in taking over control of the pension funds. If you think that organized crime would control Chicago, the south suburbs (local 5), the western suburbs (local 225) and leave unattended Lake county to the Wisconsin state border, (Lazzaretto territory), you are an idiot as far as McGough is concerned.
3.� Jim alleges that the Union�s Executive Board is now comprised of 6 officers instead of the constitutionally-required 7.�
The press release shows 6 members of the executive Board. The President, Vice president, the secretary-treasurer, the business manger, and three executive board members are as follows
2. Vice President
3. Business manager
4 Executive Board
John Michael Lazzaretto
5 Executive Board
Randy L. Dalton
6 Executive Board
I thought that Jim would have read the LIUNA constitution before alleging that the elections were unconstitutional.� Article VII Section 7 of the Uniform District Council Constitution states: McGough reads the constitution more than Bloch. He read it and could not find the seventh member of the executive board in the press release. McGough will give $100 to anyone who can find the phantom seventh member mentioned in the inaccurate press release.
In the event that there is a combination of offices, there shall be elected from among the delegates of the District Council such number of Executive Board members as to complete the complement of seven members.
And that�s exactly what happened here.� With the combination of President and Secretary-Treasurer, an additional Executive Board member was elected so that the total number remained at seven.Who is that phantom member?. The press release by Counsel Hogan does not reveal his existence
Don�t get me wrong when I criticize Jim.� Open discussion and disagreement is healthy for labor unions.� The Laborers might not have had enough of it in the past, and this may in some way be part of the reason that the Union was placed in trusteeship.�
Might not? May be part of the reason? No mights and maybes about it
But Jim is not just expressing his opinion.� He is deliberately spreading falsehoods about the Union that are unfair and cast it in a bad light. McGough has spread no falsehoods.
�At the very least, he is reckless in his disregard of the facts. McGough called Bloch for confirmation before publishing. Bloch hung up abruptly when McGough said he thought O’Sullivan made an improvident variance grant. McGough’s phone records will confirm the call as will Bloch’s secretary. The FBI might have a tape.
� For the last 6 months,� I have been serving as the court-appointed Trustee following an appointment by United States District Judge Gettleman under a federal consent decree. Bloch’s performance is being monitored by DOJ and by Laborers for JUSTICE
�Frankly, I believe that Judge Gettleman is in a superior position than Jim to determine my fitness for the position.� Judge Gettleman accepted the recommendations of DOJ and Luskin. He did not investigate Bloch’s competence, nor did� he suffer as a result of Bloch’s incompetence.
At least a federal judge will conduct a fair hearing before claiming to know the facts
Jim accuses me of having a conflict of interest.� In my opinion, it is Jim McGough who has a conflict of interest.� When the trusteeship first began, Jim asked me to pay� him for establishing a District Council website.� I seriously considered doing this until he told me what how much the Council must pay him: over $40,000 per year in consulting fees.� I rejected this rip off. Union scale for being webmaster, network administrator� and computer consultant to technologically ignorant� principals is a bargain.
�Soon after that, it was reported to me that I was attacked on Jim�s website.�� This is totally false. The amount quoted was for costs charged by the web site hosting company and/or for the above services. McGough offered to web publish the transcripts free. FBI personal suggested to McGough that he charge $5000 for his services-still a bargain when you consider the services offered. The proposals will be web published to document the accuracy of McGough’s position..
What�s even more disturbing is a recent report I received about a newly-elected Laborer official whom Jim approached.� Jim reportedly told that official that he, Jim, was going to set up a District Council website whether the official liked it or not.� According to Jim, the Council official could either pay Jim to run the website or else Jim would attack him on the website.� I�m inclined to believe this account because of the way Jim has treated me.�
McGough told Connolly he was going to set up a web site for the District Council and that if the Council paid for it the district council would have editorial control. No threats were made to attack anyone unless Connolly regards publishing labor management reports a threat.
For many years, Jim complained about corruption in the Laborers Union, and much of what he said turned out to be correct.� A number of local unions he accused of corruption were eventually placed into trusteeship.� But frankly, Jim has either lost perspective or has turned vindictive. Bloch’s misinterpretation. McGough considers Bloch’s performance as trustee to be a failure in terms of installing union democracy.
� He now attacks anyone who does not agree with him, or in my case, anyone who does not pay him
.� McGough attacks incompetence, corruption, ignorance and employers who do not pay their employee’s wages. McGough does not work for idiots. McGough is not employed by Bloch
Thank you for taking the time to read this response.� I trust that all of you will be careful about accepting all that Jim has to say.�
Call Ed Sladowski, Joe Romano, Sam Salerno, John Burke The LIUNA Inspector General agents etc for confirmation of McGough’s version of events. Call a lawyer for Bloch